Illustration: searching through wave swells of haystacks

Cannon Beach Blessing


I dream of knives, dream I am carrying
a cleaver on the beach walking the dog,

somehow forgetting I have it with me
thinking I could put it in my pocket, realizing

that’s not a good idea. So many things
are not good ideas. Too large to hide,

nowhere to put it, unwilling
to leave it, my favorite

for chopping squash. Unwilling, unable:
menacing, even to myself.


Rain to sun to rain to sleet to sun to rain.
Rock to tide to crash to gull to rock.

I woke hot, tossing blankets, sand,
and fur. Sifting through selves I’ve been,

hating each one. Loving them all. The surf
impossibly loud. A marvel the haystack

survives it. Miracle any of us survive crash and spray,
stories high, such velocity, day after week after year.

Was it once twice as big? Was I? I am alone
and enough and too much. Eroding, battered, and solid.

May puffins nest in my hair, may sea stars unfurl my
thighs, may algae and coral festoon my stubborn presence.

Ruth Dickey’s first book, Mud Blooms, was selected for the MURA Award from Harbor Mountain Press (2019) and awarded a 2019 Nautilus Award. The recipient of a Mayor’s Arts Award from Washington DC, and a grant from the DC Commission and Arts and Humanities, Ruth is an ardent fan of dogs and coffee, and lives in Seattle where by day she is the Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures. Her poems and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the American Journal of Poetry, Kestrel, Ocean State Review, Rhino, and Zocalo Public Square. More at

Haystack illustration by C.B. Auder (digital collage).

NEXT – “a coronavirus vaccine….”


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