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Thursday, October 12, 2017


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

We lean our backs against
A bleached driftwood log
While we eat our simple lunch
And watch the Pacific
Approach and fall back
Approach and fall back
Like a shy teenager
Trying to work up the courage
To ask for a dance.
After our meal
We lie down on the sand
Our small packs pillowing our heads
Our sun hats covering our faces
And fall asleep
For a half-hour or so
Then awaken stiffly and reluctantly
Peering out from under our hat brims
At the glinting ocean,
Listening to the soft splashing
Of gently breaking waves.
As we yawn and stretch
Watching a plastic bottle
Wash up onto the beach
Our sleep-scattered thoughts
Slowly pull themselves together
And we feel the return of grief
For all that is being done
To our wracked and battered Earth,
Our fears for us all
Flooding our hearts once more.
We stand up, hoist our packs,
Brush off the sand,
Take a few deep breaths of sea air
For the road,
Then head out across dunes and pastures
Back to our car
And back to the global struggle
To repair a world out of whack.

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Hawai'i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesdayand others. He has published several collections of poems, most recently, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World. His interviews with soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan became the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.