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SEAL SOUNDS

Early in the morning,
I hear what sounds like a sea lion.
Anywhere else, I wouldn’t know
what a sea lion sounds like,
but I was out on the bay yesterday
and heard Pacific seals barking as they basked.

I wonder if these early-morning cries
have come across the water
and echoed off a building,
so I walk to an open alley
and look out at the dark ocean,
but the noises don’t come again.

Later, in my home city, I hear what I think
may be the barking of a seal.
It is not a dog; it is too melodious.
But there are no seals here.
I have never seen a seal in the Atlantic.
But my question is moot.
The sound I hear is coming from swing set.
A child is swinging. The swing chain
is rubbing against its metal anchor.


  Thad Rutkowski