“Selkie” by Sandra Cross
To earn my way to the beach
I have to make it through the back yard
past nodding buds of sour-grass
their white corms underground
waiting to be next spring’s weeds.
Past the choking pepper tree
its bark sliced by narrow wire
golden sap marking a slow trail
down its trunk, past the Azalea.
smothered by sweet woodruff.
Past a gopher proof hole waiting
to be dug for the lavender rhododendron
struggling against its black plastic pot. Past
three fallow vegetable bins, past spreading
dandelions, and the ringing bells of wild
onions, past the rain slick pile of rotted weeds
the bin of well wormed kitchen debris, all
waiting for me. Waiting for me, so we can eat
zucchinis tomatoes, artichokes, it all waits
for me to clean and dig and hoe and plant.
Past this busyness, past tasks that
shaped my green life, and cycle still through
my kitchen, through these fingers that grow
old, stiffened by claims of others. My children
grown. Their own on the way. I live now
in my own imagined future.
And finally, the gate, across the road, across
the bridge. The creek running high, pressured
by rain to run to the sea, then between the
dunes – the beach at low tide, the ocean
like a meditation, calling. There is nothing
here I must do. Sandpipers scatter
when I come near
a seal head rises between the waves.
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Sandra Cross Artist Statement:
Sandra Cross lives in a small tourist village on the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. She is a doting
grandmother, retired lawyer, and lifelong fan of Virginia Woolf and the world of the imagination.
She is grateful for of coming of age in the tumultuous 60s with its rock and roll and spirit of rebellion.
She began writing seriously after her retirement from the public world, and has been published in the
Marin County Poetry Center Anthology.