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Colleen J. McElroy

Shelley at Sequim Inlet

Gull you never were a bird to float
on balmy breeze    high on a manure pile
you are king    your feet planted firm
as a farmer's boots    the smell suits
your dirty white coat    bird that is gull
you are no romantic speck hovering
in search of scraps    warm rot or rust
dirty bird you bully this northwest coast
and any other that offers loot    heavy-winged
you circle spews of foam as if some great
gossip nailed you to the spot    hawking
for gang wars    keeping the neighborhood
awake just to break your brother's back
   What gall you have gull
   What open lust and luck
   What single eye and hip-broke walk
no petal soft bearing whips you toward garbage
fighting's your only relief from the constant
call for food    and heaven is the air
alive with the smell of dead things
come on gull    voodoo caller of the sea    riffraff
faker    we know you    despite your shrill delight
your cracked-beak squawks say you're gray with fear