Gulls perch on the pilings’ tips
– sentries guarding the dead sea.
Winged wonders brave parasites
and man’s poisons. As a matter
of course they know not to eat rock
salt. Gulls gather at low tide, where
the fowl of the air meet the foul
of the water. But feed one seagull
anything at all, and in a flash, 40
have joined Gertrude and Heathcliff
in dinner scrim. What goes on in
those bird brains? Food gone,
on tenterhook pilings, gulls wait.
So why are they here? For the soggy
day-old bread and circuses?
It’s less than a minute to gobble
two Saltines. Black-tipped winged
gulls fly overhead. Fly up, out of reach.
Look me in the eye. Land tentatively,
if at all, on the water, swoop a crumb,
fly away, land on a piling. Speckle-headed
gulls fly in a big circle, choose another
crumb, seek respite on a piling until
a wave washes away their footing.
Watching my every move for a morsel.
A squawk, a pizza crust. Then off she flies.
Acrobatic tricks in the wind. Gulls
suspended in space on an invisible
breeze. Tiny specks, miles high
squawking at jets and helicopters
like Dedalus racing towards the
sun. They can go anywhere,
they have no baggage.
- By Anthony Buccino
From ONE MORNING IN JERSEY CITY
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Photos and content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission.