By May Swenson
Rags of black plastic, shred of a kite
caught on the telephone cable above the bay
has twisted in the wind all winter, summer, fall.
Leaves of birch and maple, brown paws of the oak
have all let go but this. Shiny black Mylar
on stem strong as fishline, the busted kite string
whipped aroudn the wire and knotted—how long
will it clind there? Through another spring?
Long barge nudged up channel by a snorting tug,
its blunt front aproned with rot-black tires—
what is being hauled in slime-green drums?
The herring gulls that used to fee their young
on the shore—puffy, wide-beaked babies standing
spraddle-legged and crying—are not there this year.
Instead, steam shovel, bulldozer, cement mixer
rumble over sand, beginning the big new beach house.
There’ll be a hotdog stand, flush toilets, trash—
plastic and glass, greasy cartons, crushed beercans,
barrels of garbage for water rats to pick through.
So, goodbye, goldeneye, and grebe and scaup and loon.
Goodbye, morning walks beside the tide tinkling
among clean pebbles, blue mussel shells and snail
shells that look like staring eyeballs. Goodbye,
kingfisher, little green, black crowned heron,
snowy egret. And, goodbye, of faithful pair of
swans that used to glide—god and goddess
shapes of purity—over the wide water