by Laurel Kallen Laurel Kallen

Laurel Kallen holds an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York, as well as an MA in French and a JD degree. In the past, she was a speech writer for former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. She currently teaches writing at the City University of New York. Her chapbook, The Forms of Discomfort, will be forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in August 2012, and her poem "Shopping Trip" appeared in the spring 2012 issue of Atlanta Review. Poems and stories of hers have appeared in Global City Review, Legal Studies Forum, The One Three Eight, and La Petite Zine. Her awards history includes the 2009 Stark Short Fiction Award and the 2009 Teacher/Writer Award.

The water calls us into its cold
           like a deranged mother
whose arms choke because she cannot
           hug or hold.
Something is wrong with the sunlight
           and it is our fault.
(We came with our shadows from
           New York.)
How do breakers heading toward cliffs
           know where they are, when
to crest and when
           to dissolve? How do they
           know  and how
does the sun know to
enlighten the rocks,
staircase honed by the
           sea, and again
the sea knows where to break itself
while I myself am not sure.

A bevy of ducks
(or is it a school?)
A flock of ducks rides the waves
"C'est des canards,"
someone says.   We are not far from
Québec.  On one of the small
beaches between the
rocks an entire tree trunk lives on as
driftwood. White
and emptied. Boys fish.
How do they know where to
cast their lines?

The low sun
blinds.  I cannot look
ahead—its brilliance reels
in tomorrow.
It shines from the side where the
           houses are, away from the water,
and tosses to the ocean only its
           pastels.  Clouds wait
to dab the
wounds below.
How does the sun know where to let
fall its rays
on time's rocks? And on
these narrow
beaches, how does the water
find where to let
itself in on the

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