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Twilight at Point Fermin


David W. Parsley

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David W. Parsley

Twilight at Point Fermin


The family picnic breaks the way most do
deciding what to bring or gather and drop
in waste bins, things skipping away too fast to stop
or recover, plaid tablecloth clutched like an heirloom


flapping as though to launch for open sea.
The bi-black sheltie pulls leash taut
toward the ledge-side path where seagulls stalk
eyeing refuse.  Our granddaughter asks to stay


a while, her mother's silence implying she agrees.
Brown pelicans swing around the barbican
Stick lighthouse ruddied gold, wavering line
demarked by shifts in their unbalanced V.
 
All of us know the career choice essay waits
alongside unpaid bills, the wash not dried,
porch lounge of cats that must be brought inside.
The sunset plays a filtered glow through concrete


fence grate along the clifftop like the last
flare of fireplace embers backlighting calves
and tee-shirts, groups of hobbyists knelt to solve
the tricky sets on consoles, poised to cast

remote-control gliders to surf the air.
The planes dip on release then stabilize,
climb improbably when steered beyond the signs
that ward the precipice, then swing in pairs

and solos wider looping voyages
before returning for retrieval and
the next set of runs.  Passing pelicans
maintain the set of their appendages

unperturbed, necks furling upstretched bills harpooned
in formation toward oblivious schools of mullet.
The sea absorbs the sun abruptly.  Summits
dim like a switched off lava lamp, assume

silhouette stillness.  A final flock begins
to pass then veers to darkness bearing crags
beyond the surf line where they settle hag
feet to their gripping place.  It’s said they end

their lives patrolling ledges, starved beside
thrashed wave caps, made blind through repeated dives
for prey that split the sea’s breast open eyed.
I picture the stir of alerted clutches nearby

their lunge to arriving cocks and hens, chick-peck
frenzy wielding indiscriminate stabs
that take in wind, plume, pouch, with pre-chewed crab
and fish.  Gull cries scatter up the rocks

to us like refugees from Acheron.
The lighthouse woke without our noticing
its irregular handprint feeling along
the fogbank cast off vanishing buoys and seawall.

My wife suggests we all get up and moving.
The gliders gleam above dim walkways, wing lights
green, blue, vermillion plunging through a night
breeze fretting palm fronds like cups of trembling.

 

© 2020 David W. Parsley

Originally published 9 November 2020, Tiny Seed Literary Journal.
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badger11

Very evocative David. I enjoy a 'lighthouse' write, have recently read Woolf's To The Lighthouse, and your poem is just as captivating. The poem translates that need to 'cling', the rewards of not hurrying time, though the liquidity of change is always there defining the preciousness of moments.

 

Quote

Our granddaughter asks to stay
a while, her mother's silence implying she agrees.

Such a family communication grounds the poem, but also reflects the binding of mother/daughter relationships as well as that of N. There is a loving understanding here.

Quote

My wife suggests we all get up and moving.

I like how you returned to that moment in the conclusion. There is a sensitivity with 'suggests', not a command, but a recognition of the 'loss'.  As you say such times too often 'skip' away with the necessary anchors of work and domestic chores, but at least there is a poem to relive the 'escape'...though nature shows that finality will always colour the narrative...blind through repeated dives. Burying clocks can only be a gesture😀

thank you for sharing

Phil

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David W. Parsley

Hi Phil, I like the way you respond to the poem very much.  Your diction has a nice way of participating in the scene and movement, invoking 'liquidity' and 'anchors' in your expositions.  Nice observation about those "buried clocks".  Indeed!

Thanks,
 - David

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