The Bahia Honda State Park Ranger Jeep
Patrols the Beach on the Fourth of July

                                                                           Donna Decker

The ocean is two ribbons,
one a brighter green reflection
of the other's dark algae.

Kingly at bayside, a great blue heron
thrills a walker,
slips away before the crowd's detection.

Fine-boned key deer eat grass at the side of the main road,
blend in with the safe colors of forest
that belie the closeness of crash and speed.

This beach always smells like death,
banks of sea grass rotting in the sun spawning
clouds of flies that soft-ping like rain on parched leaves.

Red-winged blackbird, scarred by its intention
of flight through car glass,
wears a pink skull-cut through its head feathers;

one claw hanging smashed and useless, it flies
off at any quick gesture of a small boy's bagging.
Sea gulls celebrate a party-suited girl for bread.

My daughter, that brave sea creature
transformed to young woman, her skin dripping pearls
emerges masked and finned from the green deep.

No, that's in another state where parades
crams through my closed eyes
and fireworks burst the sky in silent streamers.

copyright © 1998 Donna Decker

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