Convalescence on Returning to Cape Cod
by Dana Sonnenschein
Every spring something makes you
lower your head to keep walking at all—
torn ligaments, sciatica, arthritis, grief—
but I still want to go to the beach.
The sun’s so bright everything shimmers.
In the marsh, egrets burn white,
their breeding plumes flickering in the wind
as they hunch and stretch, fishing.
An osprey searches for a current of air,
leans in, scans shallows and depths.
Cormorants labor to keep solid bones aloft
and dry their wings before diving again.
There a least tern plummets into a splash
only to circle back where silversides run.
Turnstones poke at the tideline, flipping rocks
and half-shells, working their way down-shore.
Persistence. What I’ve always admired in the world,
I see in you, trudging ahead through sand
despite today’s cough and fever aura,
the foot that drags when you’re tired.
The scent of magenta roses drifts over the dunes.
Past your shoulder, the ospreys nest.
Sit with me. If we talk quietly, if we’re here
long enough, the birds will come to us.
Even the pale piping plover, one or two
where once there were thousands.
Coming back every year. Birds the color of sand
and so light they don’t leave a track.