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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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PHILLIPS ISLAND


In the bleachers at an empty beach

I discovered little penguins mate for life--

males propose by laying down five stones--

 

one struck out from the black waves,

came on the beach and paused,

with half a mind to turn back.

 

One by one others emerged and clustered

to run up the sand to calls coming

from burrows hidden in the grass . . .

 

with almost ten years hindsight,

I have learned that when you give yourself

to love—lovers flee, marriages end,

 

and it turns out little penguins

don’t stay together.  Apparently

the statistics for fairy marriages

 

range from one breeding season

to seven—their life expectancy.

 

                                   -Michele Reese