Sea Chantey – by Charlotte Mandel

“First Time at Sea,” photograph by Carlos Monteagudo

“The birth of a great-grandchild fills me with joy but with concern for the health of the planet he will inherit. We must fulfill our needs for food, fuel and shelter by means of sustainable methods.”

In Life Work (David Robert Books, 2013); first appeared Adanna Literary Journal.

by Charlotte Mandel

As a child, I knelt
with cupped hands
to catch flickers of fish
transparent as the water
sounding shush shush
like memories of ancient prayer.

The morning surf spills ocherous foam.
Oil on a wave’s twitching back
tars the feathers
of famished gulls
struggling to mount the wind.

Children run on our sands of denial
and slake thirsts
with numbing bubbles
bottled in plastic
the colors of jellyfish

cast like reliquary offerings
dutiful currents
ferry back to shore.

Charlotte Mandel

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