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August 30, 2013



Ankle deep in surf,
Low tide at dawn,
Gathering treasures.
Before my step,
Shallow minnows scutter,
Bright Coquinas dig in.
Discarded bread bag in hand,
Searching for skeletal remains of the ocean’s dead,
Mollusks that left behind in the salty tide,
Their spent pride,
Shells of former selves,
Salt water and sand,
Washing and polishing the remains.
Calico Scallops
Find places in the sack.
Their cousins are preferred;
Enfolded Lettered Olive,
Coiled Moon Shell,
Lobed Baby’s Ear.
Perchance a Whelk,
Right-handed Knobbed, with regal crown,
Mirror image, left-handed Lightning,
Graceful Channeled Whelk.
Spying a knobby old whelk,
Call him Lawrence,
Lawrence Whelk.
Laughing Gulls,
Excited by the prospect of bread,
Hover overhead
Laughing at me,
Too busy to notice,
Seeking the dead among the living.

Knee deep in seawater
High tide at midday,
Casting toward the jetty
Pyramid sinker
Double-hooked rig
Fresh shrimp,
Watching, waiting.
Surf rod high,
Monofilament taut,
Watching, waiting,
For tap, tap, tug
Beneath the waves.
One small Spot
One noisy Croaker
In the Sheetrock mud bucket

Watching, waiting
For something larger.
Bottom-dwelling Flounder,
Rock-grazing Sheepshead,
Cruising Bluefish.
Tap, tap, tug.
He’s blue for sure
Blue Crab
Eating the bait.
There’s an idea!
Eat the bait!
Grill, boil, or fry the shrimp.
Watching, waiting,
An Osprey circles
Above and beyond the jetty.
Plunging feet first,
Lifting on massive wings,
With sharp talons,
A fish larger
Than I had imagined.

Neck deep
In silent green,
Beyond the breakers at dusk,
Buoyed on rising tide.
Fading sunlight
Reflecting glints
Between dark peaks and valleys.
Looking east
Toward Africa,
Pondering the vastness,
Faint full moon,
First stars,
Final flight of Brown Pelicans.
Then, only yards away
A splash!
A Mullet leaping for his life.
As a dark dorsal fin
Slices the sea.
A Bottle-nosed Dolphin
Having supper.
Lifted by waves
In the silent purple,
One among many.
I am not alone.

Kirk H. Neely
Pawleys Island


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