J. Stephen Rhodes




Terns

 

 

Today when I was walking on the beach,

a winter wind forgot it was still fall

and tore in, tossing up bay laurel skirts,

sent sea oats chasing after their hats.

 

Waves yanked and hammered, dissolving mudflats,

the sea now valleys, now mountains that burst.

They say the world means change—your life, mine, all.

The soul keeps searching for leeward calms in reach.

 

Like many, gulls clung to the sand,

beaks to wind, wings tucked in. Black skimmers

looked like nuns kneeling at a burial plot.

 

It was the terns who refused to withstand

or fight against the storm, but rather shimmered

and danced, accepting what the weather brought.




J. Stephen Rhodes is the author of two poetry collections, What Might Not Be (Wind Publications, 2014) and The Time I Didn’t Know What to Do Next (Wind Publications, 2008). His poems have appeared in over fifty literary journals, including Shenandoah, Tar River Poetry, The Texas Review, and several international reviews. His essays have appeared in Gettysburg Review, Brevity, and Sojourn, among others. He has won a number of literary awards including two fellowships from the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences and selection as a reader for the Kentucky Great Writers Series. Before taking up writing full-time, he served as the co-director of the Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center in Berea, Kentucky.









                                    

 

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