UPON WITNESSING THE PELICAN’S DIVE
Our children nod in the back seats mouthing the word ocean.
Meaningless to them, except for the promise of newness.
Our car winds over the ragged peninsulas, the glacial tracks,
land etched from some ancient orogeny. Moss draped pines
out one window, rocky inlets out the other. Along the way
our phones lose all signal. We’ve left that behind now.
The endless news cycles, the dailiness of life, the labyrinths
of our own making. We’ve escaped for now, like Icarus,
yet knowing too soon we will have to return back
to our daily blazing toward the sun. Here though,
the cabin will be quiet with dewy nights cloaked in clouds
and the day’s sun burning off the morning fog.
With child eyes we’ll seek riches in tide pools. Our children
will begin to know the word ocean—water upon the ankles
then gone, salt parching the tongue, mysteries scurrying in the wake.
Our ears will prick to some distant splash—a body falling to water—
and quietly we’ll realize, it is not us, this time,
as we turn back to the rush of water over our children’s feet.
Benjamin Mueller lives and teaches in Ithaca, New York. His poems have appeared in Washington Square Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Negative Capability, Two Hawks Quarterly, 42 Opus, and Euphony.