Bay Sunday

By W.J. Herbert

Featured Art: Boys in a Dory by Winslow Homer


Wind hits the cliff face and climbs the palisade
as three men at a slatted table play cards.
Two wear hats. A third faces the sun and smokes.
All three are gray-haired, but none is my father.
He wouldn’t have played without scotch
on a Sunday or sat on a park bench, anyway.


A man holding a child speaks to her in Mandarin
as he touches a small seat attached to the back of a bike.
He pats handlebars and points to spokes, saying bike
every twenty words or so, then taps the front wheel gently,
the way you would touch the shoulder of an old friend.


Some Sundays even if I’m not near the bay,
I imagine my father playing solitaire at a slatted table
as I lean over the cliff rail, watching waves
that grapple with the beach as they leave it.

On the bike path below, grit spins under a stream of cyclists
as a man wipes a child’s tear with the edge
of his sleeve and speaks to her in a language so soft and low
the bay curves like an ear to hear it.

W.J. Herbert was awarded the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, Second Prize in the 2015 Morton Marr Poetry Competition, and was selected as a nalist for literary prizes by Atlanta Review, Arts and Letters, American Literary Re- view, Madison Review, and Flyway. Her poetry, ction, and reviews appear, or are forthcoming, in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best American Poetry 2017, Boulevard, Crab Orchard Review, Crazyhorse, Southwest Review, and others. She lives in Kingston, NY, and Portland, ME.

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