This week’s poem, by Jeanne Julian, finds tenacity in the spirit of a certain rugged seabird. I love this poem’s visceral physical details and actions, its intrepid, exclaiming voice, and the music of its near-rhyme sounds: promontory, ornery, cormorant.

Co-winner of Reed Magazine’s Edwin Markham Prize, Julian is the author of “Like the O in Hope” and two chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Bacopa Literary Review, Snapdragon and other journals, and she regularly reviews poetry books for The Main Street Rag. She lives in South Portland.

Like the Cormorant
By Jeanne Julian

Knocked down,
I cracked   /   like a coconut.
Tender core peck-peck-
pecked to shreds by
foul predators
who consider me feckless,
and of course off course.

Can I forge ahead? A forager,
like Crusoe! crafting
from hard, stringy husk

simple scraping tool,
ample water bowl,
quill and scroll,
from essentials to glorious ornaments!
—and a comical coracle to carry me
nouveau voyager, over shoals
from dusk toward whiff of dawn in Vinland.

If such drift’s unlikely,

let me stand          on a promontory,
wings spread        open to warmth,
restored, ornery,   like the cormorant.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Like the Cormorant” copyright 2022 by Jeanne Julian, appears by permission of the author.

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