Author’s note: One of the joys of writing poetry is the discovery of pattern, echo, and connection through acts of close attention to the world around us. I spend a lot of time looking out the window, following the small, daily dramas of birdlife on the Chester River. Sometimes they inspire hope, sometimes they serve up cautionary tales.
Two gulls locked beak to beak,
wings rowing the water and battering the air so
fiercely I thought they must be dying—trapped
in this unnatural embrace.
Starvation, drowning—no good could come of this.
And then they broke
apart just long enough for me to see
that this was combat.
The larger gull dove again into
the other, this time hammering the back
of his head. No mercy. The other trying now
to break away.
Another half an hour, their beaks
entwined, a parody of swans’ iconic nuzzling.
No fish in sight, no obvious source.
Just two huge birds—the size of eagles—stuck
together, thrashing as the river slides beyond them,
the ebbing tide exposing mud.
Meredith Davies Hadaway was selected as the Featured Writer in the new edition of the Delmarva Review (Volume 12). She is the author of three poetry collections: Fishing Secrets of the Dead, The River is a Reason, and At The Narrows (winner of the 2015 Delmarva Book Prize for Creative Writing). She holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Hadaway is a former Rose O’Neill Writer-in-Residence who previously served as chief marketing officer for Washington College, in Chestertown, Maryland.
“Delmarva Review” publishes the best of original new poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction selected from thousands of submissions annually. The independent literary journal is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by individual tax-free contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Print and digital editions are available from Amazon and local bookstores. Website: DelmarvaReview.org.