Strange Bedfellows–Kathy O’Fallon

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Off the coast of Vancouver Island, on vacation:
a boyfriend, his old fishing buddy,
an invitation. I worry I might get seasick—
three cinnamon rolls for breakfast—
and the moor-like winter sky says
who are you kidding, but before
the motor’s warmed up,
I’m braced at the bow, in slickers.

You know those ugly lingcods?
I only snag one, and the men mostly pretend
not to freeze, but a bald eagle, fiercer isolate,
dives not fifty feet from the boat,
scoops up a flapping, pink salmon
as big as its body, wrestles it along the sea,
struggling to lift, trapped by its own feet’s teeth
until they both finally drown.
Days later, we drive back from the airport,
slow down when we come to my street
to watch the flock of doves
that feeds in the field before my property.
A hawk dive-bombs, scatters the birds,
grabs the fattest one in its beak,
skitters across the road
in front of the car like a plane stalling,
its baggage beyond the prescribed limit.
We just miss them.

Alone again, I strip down for a tub.
The mirror’s too close to avoid.
I put on a few extra pounds I didn’t need,
my side zipper hardly closes at the waist.
The world says take, and look at me,
more beast than human.
Now I see, my death could be boisterous.


Kathy O’Fallon’s poems and short stories have been published in dozens of literary journals, magazines, and anthologies.  She is a psychologist living in Fallbrook, CA, avocado capital of the world.

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