Home Poetry Two Poems by Sally Toner

Two Poems by Sally Toner

Two Poems by Sally Toner

Lady Liberty Finds Sand Dollars in Coronado

I pay no attention to lovers twined

around each other like ropes on

sailboat masts.  My eyes avoid their

youth, fixed instead on

the afternoon horizon—the swath of

sand too wide at low tide. It covers

disks of purple buried under ripples of

ground-up diamonds and fool’s gold.

I thought they were nettles at first.

Those are the ones I step on at home.

But these are natural money, some the color of

blueberries, some sunbleached if they happen

to land past the water’s border. I leave

the ones still detained by waves

alone, hoping their leaf shaped hearts still

beat, and their fuzzy bellies will push them back out.

Others I collect, trying my best not to crush

them in my granite hand.  It does resemble gathering

fruit, where berries sharing a bush can be different

ages, different phases of ripe.  I toss a few, reject them to

the dunes for decay. Perhaps some

blue-eyed child will scoop them

up and see this treasure worthy

of his stolen home.

MY Middle Age in Ocean Beach

The revolution is still alive

And inspires people of all

Ages to let loose and dance

Because everyone else is

Letting their freak flag

Fly, and I may as well

Wave mine with youthful

Pride, for there is still

Time to celebrate the

Party of life.

–the typewriter troubadour

I’ve never surfed, but I’ve boogied

on both coasts and in places between and

beyond.  So, since the adorable troubadour has

given me permission to let the “freak flag

fly,” I’ll stand on the pier and watch wave riding stunts

below while someone blows bubbles over

these hippies like the troubadour spit

wisdom from his keys.  That’s how I know that

we’re all riding tides, doing that impossible thing of

taking flight and floating


We don’t waste our time on

the mushy swell that spends strength we’ll need on

the paddle back. 

That’s how I know this Pisces isn’t just

a fish.  I am the sea.

When I rage, and froth and fume,

respect me from a distance, but please

don’t go away.  I need you there

to tell me I’m still beautiful, even

when I’m mad.  Because there will be

mornings when I’m glass reflecting

blue—fathoms to

the bottom where my thoughts are

conchs, sand dollars, starfish, unbroken and

waiting.  On balance, I give

life so much more than

I take away.

Sally Toner is a High School English teacher who has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for over 20 years.  Her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, The Delmarva Review, Watershed Review, and other publications.  She lives in Reston, Virginia with her husband and two daughters.  Her first chapbook, Anansi and Friends, a mixed genre work focusing on diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from breast cancer, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in the summer of 2019.

Image: CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=553056


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