Bill Griffin: Poetry: Feb 2022


Southern Legitimacy Statement: My greatlygreatgrandfather Thomas Griffin moved from Virginia after the Revolution and settled in Union County NC in the 1780’s. Evidently a few other Griffins came south around the same time, therefore I am NOT related to EVERY Griffin in North Carolina. Just most of them.


Brisk onshore wind delivers rain,
deep ocean birds arrive to fish the littoral:
silent judgement, black daggers
in their wings, they ride the squall and stab
through whitecaps into surety.

All day we watch their reaping up and down
the strand, at evening ebb we join them,
walk til everything is shadow; back at the house
the phone is ringing in the dark, hospital, 
your mother, our long season of imagining

she could outpace the rising tide. Yesterday
you cried and said you didn’t think you’d make it,
tonight you’re making plans clear-eyed:
some of us ignore the storm and founder, some catch
a flash of silver and discover all we need

at sea. First light the car is packed,
clinging damp, wind at our backs,
the gannets flexing breath beneath their wings
to loft them high, surf froth and churn,
they dive and dive and dive.