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I breathe the meadow smell of storm-turned sea.
The distant clouds are hill, plateau, and peak.
They slip their forms like foam. Small sun gets through,
But seams of gold appear at dawn to streak
The long horizon’s slice of silver haze.

The forecast calls for winds at twenty knots,
Seas at four feet. Two surfers drift and wait
In the mica glint and mineral gray
Of mist, facing away from the empty shore.

Thin bands of bright marine green appear far out.
Dragonfly and dolphin: the first poises briefly
Here on my palm while the other breaches
The waves, dorsal black in the running blue.
The waves emerge and grow against their will
And then expend themselves as will itself.

I imagine remaining here forever,
Commanding the noisy sea to come to me.
Above the cloudy beach, a kite’s left tethered
Tautly to a rusted scrap of metal,
Jellyfish tendrils snapping in the wind.



Ernest Hilbert is the author of five collections of poems, most recently Storm Swimmer (North Texas), winner of the 2022 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry.




Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash


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