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by Mary Jo Balistreri
       after Barbara Crooker, Happiness

I love this ordinary August afternoon, heavy
breath of sub-tropical heat clinging to me like hot
words of a lover, the beach empty of people, the sea,
its luminous stillness. I love the way light spills from
the sky and weaves between waves a shining cloth
of white linen, and the sky itself, shapeless, abstract,
big Frankenthaler brush strokes that one could get lost
in. And the blue heron standing in a shell of silence,
I love the way he partakes of sun's effusive outpouring
in the great conch of the sea, waiting, listening without
restlessness or change.

On this late summer day, I love the transparent wings
of dragonflies, who throw their blue green nets and fish
"noseeums" from my glistening skin. And wind-up
sanderlings that run a race with shirred tides, careen
from water's puckered stitch as sea meets sand. I love
the screech of gulls, their shrill cries that underscore
the quiet. The sea’s voice. I love that sound of abundance
that bubbles and laughs like the effervescence in a glass
of Moet Chandon. But most of all, I love this solitude
the inclusion of myself in everything that matters.

From Joy in the Morning (Bellowing Ark Press, 2008)


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