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Syndic Literary Journal

Poetry by Kate Mullikin


by Kate Mullikin

I’m grilling hard on my deck
In the raging sun
On the edge of the western world.
It’s Santa Cruz. It’s February,
But it feels like September
And a hawk is flying directly over head.

I can see the Monterey bay from here
And I’m doing absolutely nothing
Except writing this down,
And downing a beer
And watching the occasional hawk trick
Over white cap eruption
In the cobalt blue distance

Meanwhile, Somewhere in Egypt there
Must be a middle-aged, middle school art teacher
(just like, but not at all like me)
Just turned peaceful protester,
Piecing together a make-shift catapult
To fling all the rocks
She collected from the streets of Liberty Square
At the angry mobs that are coming for her there,
While I was out jogging on the Sea Cliff pier
Collecting shells and catching rays over here.

Today she is shaping the future of her students
And her country.

In my defense I have to say,
That I got up at seven on a Saturday
To watch some of my old students play music
At a high school pancake breakfast event.
The pancakes sucked, but
The parents gushed and the children
Made live music right before my eyes.

The beginning band went on a solo spree.
Safe to take risks in their musical democracy,
They all got a chance to shine.
And I started crying. just like I do every time
And am now, in this beer
Watching this hawk swoop down
Out of everywhere
Grilling on my deck
On the edge of the western world –
While smack dab in the center of Cairo,
An Egyptian Art Teacher
Is reaching for another rock to throw.

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Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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