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Tuesday, June 18, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

Brandon J. Prescott (U.S. Army photo)

I had to get out of the shore wind.
I’d eaten so much of it this week.
I choose the woods loop, where hawks swirl,
overseeing the weekend wind-down,
families packing pots, kites, kids’ bikes.
Shivered mist chased out two days of sun
and tastes of rain tomorrow. One unattended
campfire smolders sugar smoke.

Running the bike trail, I notice
how huckleberries grow best
cuddling up to pines and song sparrow
melodies dip below the ocean undercurrent
lullaby to blue lupine and white
strawberry blooms. Grandparents recover
on log benches from childcare stints,
the low tide laying slime flats open,
a smell of old sea.

I stop at the park ranger’s shack
to chew the fat about the bald eagles
circling the bay. I report the fire
smoldering. He says he'll put it out.

The park flags lie limp inside the
tree buffer. I ask the ranger why
both the U.S. and the Oregon
fly at half-mast. An Oregon boy
died in Afghanistan.
without a voice in the wind.

I head out the only way
to a soft path through dunes
turn north on hard-packed beach.
The stiff wind finds my back.
That lost boy follows me home.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet who lives some of the time in Manzanita, Oregon on the windswept northern Oregon coast. Her poetry appears in local and regional poetry journals as well as haiku publications.