Alligator

by MARY BETH HINES


I circle the same ground, suffocating
in salt. Shadows dapple the swells
that shift above my scales.

Streaming air singes my yellow eyes
when I drift up from ocean’s bottom,
raise my head, blink, and gaze.

A scramble of pink, white, and brown
arms and legs, neon flowered rumps swirl
and sway to shore. Whistles wail.

I slog through the surf by instinct now,
dazzled by the silver shades of shark
that stalk in my wake.

All I desired was open
sky, open sun, a careen through water
without boundary, one clear sail,

a brief escape. Freshwater god, king
of the canal dwellers – one
wrong turn and even I topple to prey.


About the Author

A project manager by profession, Mary Beth Hines is an active member of the Farm Pond Writer’s Collective and participates in Boston-area writing workshops. Her work has recently, or will soon, appear in small press and on-line journals such as the Aurorean, Blue Unicorn, Crab Orchard Review, Sky Island Journal, SPLASH, and The Road Not Taken, among others.

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