Closing the Bar

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Contributor: Richard Hartwell

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Acres of hummocked hillside
strewn with granite and marble;
faded dates, Portuguese names,
some whole families, males, three generations
lost to the querulous sea they’d harvested daily.

Years upon years of heartbreaking toil at sea, while
waiting ashore broke the hearts of their women.

Empty graves for most as the sea
seldom gives up what it takes away;
the deep trench off Monterey Bay hides
more secrets than all the sardines ever canned.

Stone memorials for those who
haunt the shore when surf closes
down the bar into Moss Landing
and window shades are drawn
against the howling of the dead, as
widows rock endlessly in the dark.

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Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity.


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