Because trees claw their way
through a gray smog.
Because the salt marsh down the road
is spotted with white and green trash bags
and plastic water bottles.
Because my shoes stick to the melting asphalt
pulling at my legs, slowing my passage.
Because gulls call to other gulls and circle
in wide loops around each other,
because they know each other,
because they know what lies beneath them
and what doesn't. 

Because in a bad storm, the tide sometimes
washes past the house where you used to live,
consumes the beach, bushes, 
night blooming jasmine, grass, and street,
laps at the walls. Waves knock
as if to say come out, come out,
wherever you are.

Because no one is there to clean up
when the surf rolls back.
Because we are the wrack line left behind:
a jagged border of broken shells, kelp, 
sand logged, plastic shopping bags, broken reeds,
an occasional dead crab or dog shark,
stranded clams and mussels gulls smash
and eat in strips of ragged flesh.


Pat Hanahoe-Dosch has an MFA from the University of Arizona. Her poems have been published in Rattle, Paterson Literary Review, Confrontation, and many others. Her books, Fleeing Back and The Wrack Line, are available through FutureCycle Press or Amazon.