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While My Mother Dreams of Judge Judy: Flash Fiction by Tina Barry
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Afternoon on the Beach: Poem by Elizabeth Zelvin
crowbars and middle fingers: Poem by Rob Plath
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The Sadness and Beauty of Car Boot Sales: Poem by John Doyle
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Elizabeth Zelvin: Afternoon on the Beach

99_ym_afternoononthebeach_holtzman.jpg
Art by Bernice Holtzman 2023

AFTERNOON ON THE BEACH

 

by Elizabeth Zelvin

 

 

I thought the swim would be the main event

August water finally warm, the current benign today

indolent surf, high tide poised to ebb

I came prepared for perfection

not for jellyfish small as seed pearls

inviting me to bathe in tapioca

 

reading on the beach, I surfaced from my book

to cries of Whale! a plume of spray

a waving flipper whiter than a sail

a vast gray cetacean body heaving halfway out

of the swell. As far as humans know, whales breach

because they can. The humpback  

flings itself aloft for sheer delight

for half an hour this showoff swam

parallel to its audience on the shore

the bright flipper rose and fell, the tail flirted

the great body glided back and forth

 

I didn’t blink or look away  

I couldn’t stop smiling

they say to meditate is to aspire

to exist in the moment, with long practice

to approach it for a trickle of time

to achieve it for a matter of breaths  

I can live in the moment only in the ocean

sailing weightless over the rollers

cool silky water caressing my limbs

 

but ah, the whale! there’s a creature of the now

no anxiety, no regret, a vast serenity

in the greater vastness of the sea

singing while we moan about how to fix it all

swimming parallel to our troubled world  

 

Elizabeth Zelvin is the author of two books of poetry, I Am the Daughter (1981) and Gifts and Secrets (1999), and recipient of a CAPS award from the New York State Council on the Arts. During the Second Wave of the women's movement, her work was widely published in such journals as 13th Moon, Heresies, and the anthology Sarah's Daughters Sing. Recent poems have appeared in Yellow Mama as well as in anthologies of work about COVID and in support of Ukraine. Liz also writes short and long form fiction, including the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Mendoza Family Saga.

 

Elizabeth Zelvin, multiple Derringer & Agatha awards nominee  

The Bruce Kohler Mysteries

The Mendoza Family Saga

http://elizabethzelvin.com



Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2023