Gulls’ fugue. The fishy hours, untimely, flensed
against the fenny muck. The scoundrel wind
shaking flax and old silk shudders homeward,
eastward, into sea’s stark splay of waves.
Clothes torn and flapping, winter’s battered wife
has tucked her apron in a civet’s ear and slid away,
no settlement, no progeny, no mandrake root.
No end of struggle, only the start of flight
or the startle of that starling flung hard into glass
through its own misperception. We make
mistakes, we forget, neglect to succor
or to love and the floor drops out of the bottom
of our daily prayers like the fleeing woman
whose name we never bothered to learn.
If life were but fair, we sigh. If only there were
justice, we might remember to be kind.