Sunday, January 24, 2016


Black-Footed Albatross
—Anonymous Photo

To stand on a high place, a cliff over the ocean, seeing pelicans circle, at first ungainly, then plunging like flung stones—this was what he loved under a gray sky with a rough sea, no beach, a rocky coast and the distant sound of the surf, a rumble and crash and hissing away.  He felt sure that when he died his specific light would flick out, no more than that, and at times he looked forward to its dark repose.  But at other times he thought that if he had had a previous life, he must have been an albatross, one of the smaller ones, nothing regal.  That would have given him joy, instead of today’s to-ing and fro-ing, its altercations and constricting chambers.  And no matter how much he believed in the coming dark, at times he wished the other might lie ahead—riding the air currents with nothing to hinder his vision of the horizon, that gray line between shifting cloud and unsettled water.

—Stephen Dobyns