Guarded Sails

I don’t miss the California sun.
This northwest blanket of woolly clouds
makes me feel closer to the earth.

Cars glide below the bluff.
Weak waves paw the sand.

A skiff is anchored a few hundred feet
from shore, content as an old man in
his recliner after his wife’s meatloaf.

My phone conversations with my mother
are brief. She asks if I’ve been
going to church and praying. I tell her
I’ve been writing poems instead.
The ducklings we rescued last spring
have all grown and flown away.

My father told me to be realistic.
My mother told me it’s impolite to yearn.
I walk around without shoes,
eating dry chrysanthemum blossoms.

Across the sound the islands repose.
A sail waves hello, then goodbye.

Michael Julian Arnett’s work has appeared in BOAAT, The Portland Review, The Review Review, Eunoia Review, Empty Mirror, and others. He has an MFA from Pacific University and lives in Northern California.

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