A Seagull Uses the Crosswalk on Monday Morning

He suffers no jokes about chickens
crossing the road or who said stop.
The bird waits for the light
to turn green, looks both ways,
then steps a webbed toe off the curb.
He squawks at the surprise of a red
convertible cutting him off –
tires burn blacktop.
The gull gives the driver the bird,
white wing raised high,
feathers curled like a fist,
except for one upright strand.

A man walks his dog down State Street.
The leashed dog offers a dumb & adorable smile,
doesn’t bark at the seagull crossing the street.
The man, call him Mark, stops to watch, jaw open.
He wonders if the gull forgot it is a wing soaring bird, able
to take to the crooked sky, with no envy of human legs
like its fellow mariner, the lonely mermaid.
Can the seagull dance the funky chicken?
Mark laughs, so does his dog.
What a riot, his dad would say, if he were there.
The bird takes its time crossing the street.
He struts, then takes an awkward hop backwards,
seems deep in thought as if solving the world’s pollution problems.
When he reaches the other side of the street,
a great blue heron flies overhead,
reminds the bird what wings are for.

"Seattle Sea Gull," by Adventures of KM&G-Morris (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“Seattle Sea Gull,” by Adventures of KM&G-Morris (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


About Melinda Palacio

Melinda Palacio is a poet, author, and speaker. She lives in Santa Barbara and New Orleans. Her poetry chapbook , Folsom Lockdown, won Kulupi Press’ Sense of Place 2009 award . She is the author of the novel, Ocotillo Dreams (ASU Bilingual Press 2011), for which she received the Mariposa Award for Best First Book at the 2012 International Latino Book Awards and a 2012 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature. Her first full-length poetry collection, How Fire Is a Story, Waiting , (Tia Chucha Press 2012) was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Award, the Paterson Prize, and received First Prize in Poetry at the 2013 International Latino Book Awards. In 2015, her work was featured on the Academy of American Poets, Poem-a-Day Program. Read more of Melinda's work at www.melindapalacio.com.
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