MERMAN AT LA JOLLA COVE
He finds a purse concealed in rocks,
opens it discovering coins in nickel, copper
and green paper faces. He dumps the contents
to sand then fills the bag with a sprig of pine,
a starfish, a seaweed wreath, two crabs,
a pinch of sand and three stones webbed
with charcoal veins in slate and celery.
He breathes fire from sun-heated air.
A film of moisture evaporates from scales
as he watches a phalarope flap on a branch.
A caw jabs his sea ears, so unlike the deep,
slurred tones of coral cities. Cliff high
the creatures gather to gawk at him: brown,
beige, large and small ones. He gazes at them,
notices how strange they are, yet similar.
(Published in Green Hills Literary Lantern)