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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Roger Jones

Galveston, Summer 2010

We’ve checked out of our hotel. I’m on my way to the car with one last suitcase when a sea gull out of nowhere swoops in front of me, arcs upward, and smacks full-speed the concrete overhead crossbeam of the hotel’s front awning. Its impact makes a dry crunch, like a ball of husks. It lands a yard or so in front of me. Maybe a foot twitches once or twice, but there’s no doubt: dead as iron.

Across the seawall, the white noise of the Gulf is steady.

It’s the summer of the year my parents died a month apart from one another. In my mind, a split-second montage of the dead – parents, friends, relatives, creatures – flashes past. I feel an inward wave of grief for the never-ending cycle. But there’s little time to react. Almost at once, a concierge is on the scene with broom and white plastic bag to sweep up the specimen and make the driveway clean again, new guests soon to arrive.

along the beach
a row of empty chairs