Worn foil expanse, flat, the St. Lawrence, gold toward Lake Ontario.
Low light through emerald-blue waves
breaks on the stone shore.
A seagull cruises low over field of cut hay,
snatches mouse in mouth
and flies beside me as I cycle past Burnham Point.
The mouse struggles, dying, gull changing grip
cautiously. Eyes me before banking high into the wind
heading over the River.
Seagulls are genius, unlikely,
a misfit, mottled bunch. Robust, longwinged, omnivorous.
Dad feeds a lone gull behind his house,
throws bread to the one bird
and in moments twenty or more. Squeal-calls, “eeeoh, eeeoh, eeeoh!”
The communicative scouts work so well as a group but
fight still for pecking order.
I’ve always watched them on long wings, head low
turning, scavaging through rocks and driftwood on the great curve of the shore;
beach glass, dead stiff fish
and twig-dry bones for what? I never thought a mouse.
Look toward me
and away, agile and breathtaking white
against the dark water and sky,
disappearing around the point.
Or coming down onto dumpsters in a parking lot
huge groups loitering and rooting,
or a grey-freckled one bobbing in the bay asleep and alone
or in groups again. Bold and loud like a crow, graceful like nothing,
wings gently bent at elbow.