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A Journal of Haibun & Tanka Prose
Bob Lucky, General Editor & Ray Rasmussen, Technical Editor
January 2020 Vol. 15 No. 4

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Kristen Lindquist

Pulpit Rock

The beach of my childhood was not a sandy one. Smooth cobbles larger than my head rolled and shifted with each storm tide. And one larger than the rest, visible from way down shore, with a flat top perfect for sitting: Pulpit Rock. I spent hours alone atop Pulpit Rock, outlining magical signs with round white pebbles or reading the future in handfuls of cast periwinkle shells. Or staring out to sea, across the bay to the small, spruce-crowned islands I’d never visited and where no one lived. I knew there must be seals among those waves, and other forms of life, whales or even sharks. My grandmother told me of a friend’s pet seal pup, eaten by a great white shark near one of those islands. Nautical charts showed depths of up to 500-feet deep on this side of the bay, scooped out by the last glacier. Anything could be down there, adrift among the seaweed and dazzling schools of mackerel. But I saw no signs of life except gulls, and the starfish and mussels they fed upon. Still, I thought if I wished hard enough, if I really concentrated my thoughts, I might conjure up some other sentient being. Perhaps a selkie that could read my mind, teach me how to shed my skin and enter the cold, iron-grey waves as if I belonged there.

afternoon rain
porpoises slipping
past the jetty

that childhood story
my grandmother told me
how rocks grow


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