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He loads the car. Suitcases. Carry-ons.

Drenched in fog, the rental home overlooks the ocean. On the deck stands his wife, still as resting heron.

Gray silhouettes of gulls glide. Mendocino’s lights—cafés and shops—are hazy pinpricks. Waves lift and dip small fishing craft, ghostly in mist.

Yesterday, aboard the chartered boat in Noyo Bay, they scattered his parents’ ashes, wrack that stayed afloat until a green swell buried it.

Last night, windows opened, he awoke to sounds of surf in full-moon tide, as if rocked on ship deck toward his wife, or tossed to the Pacific’s bone-white froth.

Moisture beads his face
dampened jacket weighs him down
each breath tastes of salt.


Marilyn Westfall has published poetry, fiction, and various non-fiction pieces, like interviews, essays, and scholarly works, over many years. Most recently, her creative works have appeared in Right Hand Pointing, Southwestern American Literature, Earth’s Daughters, and The Autumn Sound. She has completed a chapbook, Ingots, about a dying steel town, and has flash fiction forthcoming in The Rusty Nail.

© 2013, Marilyn Westfall

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