Wing Shadows I Long to Paint by Angie Minkin

Ten minutes out to sea, the only knots on ropes,
clove hitches and sheet bends, fishing knots, utility
boat knots, not knots of loss that melt as I stare
at the bay, eyes searching for harbor seals, fixed on outcrops
covered with cormorants and squabbling gulls, bird eyes
following pelicans swooping in squadrons; the sun
dazzling, broken only by wing shadows I long to paint,
though I can’t paint, but I want colors I can’t name,
yearn to sculpt the chorus of calls and whistles,
and it’s been twenty years since I felt so close to the water:
then it was Oregon’s craggy coast—a special trip
with my daughter and her friend to watch whales,
just us with Captain Henry in the little Zodiac,
the girls bundled in down and blankets
while humpbacks breached all around us, and I thrilled
to each tail whack, but Liza, nervous, wanted only
her own mom and Aly slept, rocked by the sea, ignored
my hissed admonition, wake up, don’t miss this,
she just couldn’t keep her eyes open…

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