Linda Strever

Watching a Gull at Cannon Beach


You stick your beak into everything:
wave-darkened pebbles, grayed scraps
of litter, drying carcasses, just in case

there’s a soft spot, an organ you can pluck
and swallow down your narrow throat,
something, anything to make a dent

in your hunger. You peck everywhere
along the beach, among things that defy
naming, among your own feathers

until you draw blood. But look,
there’s a pool of sunlight on the sand,
yours for the having, no need to poke

anywhere, just move your craggy feet,
your ruffled wings, lift your head
and draw the sunlight in. It’s a different

kind of emptiness than the one you fear,
a place to rest, to feel warmth on your
back, no need to tuck your wings close

to your body. Instead, spread them
a little. There’s no one here to begrudge
you, to list all your failings. Here

there is only you and sunlight, blinding
and beckoning, a spot of heat
on a stormy beach. You’d be crazy

not to give up the hope of some stagnant
morsel in favor of fullness that cuts
like grace through the clouds. You’d be

crazy not to take your scaly feet and
lopsided wings, your empty belly, your
sharp beak and step into that circle of light.


“Watching a Gull at Cannon Beach” is reprinted from Crab Creek Review.


Linda Strever’s poetry credits include Crab Creek Review; Spoon River Poetry Review; CALYX, a Journal of Art and Literature by Women; Beloit Poetry Journal; Nimrod, Floating Bridge Review, and others. Winner of the Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize from CALYX Journal, her work has been a finalist for the Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize, the Crab Creek Review Poetry Award, the Levis Poetry Prize, the Ohio State University Press Award in Poetry, the A. E. Coppard Prize for Fiction, and the William Van Wert Fiction Competition. She has an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and lives in Olympia, Washington.



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