Mark Vogel: “At the edge”

At the edge

Wind-shaped vegetation and sand submit forever
_____to ocean winds. Fat clouds drift in
a seamless sky, bunching like a herd.

From the picture window scraggly pines and hemlocks
_____rise over tangled power lines and gray
shingled roofs on houses built on stilts.

Below, gold-finches flit in yellow bushes,
_____but my binoculars lock-in on a toy ship
stuck on the horizon, on the Pacific pushing to eat land.

As if just for me, the sun appears, pinpoints white waves
that mark the separation of worlds, as they lap,
then retreat before birds darting to secure tiny treasures.

I focus on a misty trail that meets the beach where
_____a walker with dog flirts with water,
wind, light. Far out, a startling hint of more—

a whale surfaces, promising that others are close,
though this morning not mature I feel like a child who
is drawn toward snake highways, shiny cities,

named mountains—where land flattens into time zones.

A child growing responsible facing what must be faced.
_____A child who already knows how pig-faced
politicians gobble orange pumpkins in a pile.

How multi-colored RVs own the fat river. How further
_____on in the aging concrete urban heart,
burnt and wounded relatives laugh

under this same infinite sky,

with the same ache determined to push boundaries.
_____Until a last look at the ocean shimmer
leaves no doubt the grey will burn away.


Mark Vogel lives at the back of a Blue Ridge holler with his wife, Susan Weinberg, an accomplished fiction and creative non-fiction writer. He currently serves as Professor of English at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Poems and short stories have appeared in several dozen literary journals.

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