Poetry for Today

Slow Love is a Salt Marsh

Nancy Burke


Slow love is a salt marsh,

Waving grass and osprey nests.

Gulls cry and seize onto pilings

that hold back the tide,

the roll of sea, and crushing floods.

A place to paddle slow, beats

Like a heart tentative, quiet dinghy.

Knowing that peace must enter first

Then a quickening of lapping foam

On sand over pebbles, shell shards

Sea glass in muted colors.

In midday heights of sun, warm local

clammers dig deeply and hoard harvested

Mollusks in bushels to markets

And strange steaming pots where the twilight

Diners insist on freshness, eager to

Consume their share.

Love is better slow.

It keeps up with itself that way

The anchors of ancient seafaring skiffs

Remind us how tall tales endure,

Morph into legends of courageous deeds,

Patient, spoken low, over fires, with chalices

Filled with rum and sweet coconut.

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