Lines to Elizabeth

The balloon you gave me

hugs my living-room ceiling, sways

a long red ribbon

above my favorite chair.

I watch from the kitchen

the silver bulb hovering

like the gulls we feed at the park.

Mallards and geese cluster

at our feet, squawking

and honking for crumbs. We shake some

from our bags for them.

But it's the gulls we toss our bread to.

We might stay

for an hour, loving

how they quiver in the air

then swoop for a crust.

We love how they shine

some white in the April sun

others, mottled

gray as the rocks

at the beach we explored. Winter

chapped our cheeks as we discovered

things we had not come for: a jellyfish

drifting in a tidal pool, the sand

dollar I warmed between my hands for you,

razor clams, a skate egg case,


like the lobster buoys among the waves

tethered to a certain depth

by an imperceptible line.

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