a trip to newburyport, mass. in October 2014


We were traffic.  We spent rural land in a level glance:  Vermont roads, autumn-leafed birch and maple.

We slid by, whooshing our car’s boat body on its floaty ride.

Came a lurching line-painting machine and we were part of backed up traffic.

Dare devil mohawk-haired danger weaved back and forth around column-carved lanes.

But soon we were clear and had arrived and felt easier.

We were in New Surroundings

port city of long ago whalers and clipper ships back from the Roaring 40s of Latitudes with essence of the Orient:

medicine, chinaware, tea, silks.

Asian trade port crowded by federal buildings, coiffed by clouds, struck by sun.

Peabody Essex Newbury- maritime names and Plum Island.

Plum Island

Sandy soil, dunes, beaches and woods.  Beech trees, bay berry bushes, poison ivy, unseen, but warnings.

On a dead branch of a beech, a hooded light gray cape on a hunched over little man.

Mistaken identity.  The statue was a barred owl and in a smart, unhurried movement to the ground,

she skewered a vole and returned to her tree.

She rested.  Regraded her prey, and with body-convulsing swallows, gulped it down her throat.

She repeated the process from another tree.  Once again a long study of forest floor and then

a gathering of shoulders, a short stop on leaf-littered sandy soil and then the very spirit of air borne

back to her tree branch, again a dead one, regarded the talon-skewered creature punctured and hopeless,

Gulp gulp gulp gulp gulp and flew deeper into the forest.

Sandy Point

Where the seaward meets the leeward hard-packed, wide fine grained easy to walk sandy beach.

Al pair of gulls pecked at a dead small seal, rectangular, buoy-like.

The waves spat curled foam in broken low lines on a calm shore.

Garnet-mineraled purple sand striped the high water mark where the Parker River had contributed its silt,

all the way south from the Adirondacks.

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