Literary Yard

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‘Sea ranch’ and other poems by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

By: Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

Sea ranch

We carve our purple names
Onto shards of sea cliff
With mussel shell
Dab a pink sea cucumber
And let a mole crab
Believe our hands are the sand

You say the abalone
Are breakable
And my heart flares
An unexpectedness like
The reveal of a sunset
Before it’s closed by fog

The oystercatcher believes
We are all made for catching something—
like the anemone pursing its lips
At the receding tide

The sea cave clunks
And empties
Onto the mossed rocks
As you dream a pirate scheme
And I raise the purple kelp like a sword

You pause halfway
Over the edge
I catch a seal in the line of your gaze
With a hind flipper
Dark red and lifting
Where waves meet shore

We call the marine reserve
But they wait till morning
Surprised to find the aftermath of gore nowhere—
The seal’s wound stinging in salt
Somewhere underneath

You wait for me
In the cypress grove
Scraping the initialed rocks
The mussel-shell chalk
Becomes dust in your hands

My palm aches
From its plunge shoulder deep
From holding turquoise sea jewels
And gripping sharp white-stained stones
But it does not sting


becoming what May

May becomes me
the kitten by my shins
perks her nose
up to the sweet air
our yard cologned
with a kindergarten
of folding rice paper
‘round stringy purple carrots
with a tall man named Adam

The roses still dripping
April tears
the grass blades singed
with that crisp
end-of-June sun
and myself
inside the Flycatcher’s
and the sudden tumble
of birdseed
as the nosy squirrel
takes his first pick

May becomes me
caressed by the droop
of the plum tree
its bundles of round fruit
still in the waiting-green

May becomes me
our oak tree is diseased
the arborist holding
up his saggy eyes
by the height of his gaze
and relinquishment
of his medicine bag
to the deep black
of the microbe
bleeding down its roots

If it falls
I fall
and hum to the crickets
of the burning July
and to the worry that heats
a moist soil
to a crackling fire
our wood shingles
laid like bricks
to escape their crumble
a ladder drawn down
to a de-petaled pavement
a road plucked
of the May
it becomes


beer on a coaster

a quarter beer
in a beer bottle
the overnight fizz de-fizzled
the de-capped lips
pursed like yesterday’s
blowing the happy tune
of papa’s beer belly polo
and fat cat wagging
her puppy tail

but this morning
the green glass
sits by itself
on a tea coaster
perhaps one day
on the coast of
my heart
in a sea of never-arrivals
the shards wandering
towards salt-drunken shores
but lost to the
man and the kitten
and to love evermore

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