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[Poetry] Two Poems by Ted Eisenberg

By Carmel-by-the-Sea

Surfers paddle out in the April

chill, but never catch the surf.

Are they children -- remote,

heedless and alone?

One makes for

farthest in the near-dark. The beach

begins to empty of its dogs, their

unleashed-walkers and thrown-


I don’t know why I see this girl,

distant in her black wetsuit. Why

I see her readying for death. She’s

wrapped in sea; she shapes

my mind.

Her hair -- if I could see it –

would be long.

Sandpipers set down

in the rough-wet, peck at the migrating

space where sea and shore barter


Large rocks, slippery with life,

urge my eyes from their deep with plashes

of apricot and tangerine.

A child runs back

urgently to clamber. This brings his mother,

and their Labrador, who leaps into gilded

surf for a last splash, then shakes fur free

of sea -- into droplets, spattering every


In the violet shimmer, each

water-speck a prism. I approach the boy,

mother and Lab, to thank them for this

splendor, to ask if they can see exploding

night from where they stand.

The boy looks

up from popping kelp with his heel, stares

at the sea creature.

Captain Riddle’s Whale Tours

In Eastport, far as East

can stand. First to welcome

day, first to darken.

A minke breaches toward

Lubec, while one man stands

among fishing lines, waiting

for a peregrine sun to yield.

He rubs his lips for fire.

Thoughts of his wife

mesmerize his viewing

of the blotch-red sky.

The minke sinuates

through chinks within

the calm, as if a tentacle.

He finds a stone that stares

him back. Never saw

that before, he says. His

mother-in-law paints

lady bugs on smooth-faced

stones, selling amulets

on Water Street. At ninety,

deaf, and cancerous, she

gleans her Margaret’s lilt

from gardens going-on.

Her vocal chords nodular

as sailors’ ropes and oak root.

A fisherman looks up to see

who broods into the rot.

Theodore Eisenberg retired from the practice of labor law in 2014 to write. He managed the firm for a number of years, which gave him the opportunity to learn something of how the world works out its practicalities. He also credits aging as a mentor. When words seem too restrictive, he paints. His poems have appeared in The Aurorean, Thema, Rattle, Slipstream Press, Crosswinds Press, Lighthouse Literary Journal, Main Street Rag, Philadelphia Stories, Aji Magazine, little somethings press, Blue Mountain Review, NonBinary Review, Hamilton Stone Review, Rust & Moth, The Ekphrastic Review, The Ragged Sky Anthology and many other journals and anthologies. His chapbook, “This,” was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017.

Photo: Samantha Cycles


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