Stephen Gardner

He’s edged the lawn and now it’s time
for tea. Down in the wicker chair,
what does he see? Easy waves, cirrus,
a gull or two. Over the fence, he eyes
the chaise where the neighbor’s wife
dreams afternoons under the sun.

Evening nears, and he lights the fire
for dinner, tosses meat onto the grid
and leans into the smell of burning fat.
Next door, the bedroom light goes on
and he hears the sound of water.
He stares at the incoming tide.

For six months now he has heard
some quiet voice in his ear, like a soft
and familiar tongue, telling of places 
he can go for nothing. The light
goes out. A wave crashes, and then
another. Under the eaves, a gull cries

in its sleep. A wave crashes. He closes
the grill and takes his drink inside.
He knows the gull tucks its head under its wing.

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