Brant by Nathan Dubrow

The unfinished business of summer,
then autumn brief with heavy rains.
Now comes November.
This gray morning, ten am on a work day.
A gale sixty miles offshore and a full moon tide 
have connived to overfill the harbor.
Surge strikes the seawall like a leaden bell 
and buries the beach I came to walk.
A flock of brant have come in with the weather,
compact and muscular
sleek black heads and necks at a forward tilt
pure intention.
Separated from what they want
the tender eelgrass down among the mussel beds
by a good fifteen feet of cold water 
churned with sand.
How arbitrary it all is. Tides, storms, seasons…
Maybe the brant are just waiting it out.
Maybe they’re using those webbed feet of theirs, 
pushing the water out of the harbor as fast as they can.
Either way, the blue-black backs of the mussel beds 
will rise in six hours
and the eelgrass will be theirs for the taking.
by Dawn Paul