Poems by Lark Omura

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by Lark Omura

From Canary Summer 2017

Lark lives between Lake Merritt and the Pacific Ocean on the sunny side of San Francisco Bay.

When warnings of sea levels rising
became loud announcements we were so busy
packing the SUV for our trip to the beach

they were easily drowned out,
how to fit the watermelon-colored plastic umbrella
plus a cooler of beers into the trunk

along with our towels was enough
to worry about that Sunday, the news
told of dying reefs and an oil spill

just off the coast but we switched
to the local station, sang along with the hits
of summer and commented on the heat

being great for our chances of getting some color,
after all summer had come early this year
and none of us were ready for it just yet

‘cause we were still waiting on winter
which in some places had been quite spectacular,
schools shut down for weeks and all that jazz

but here it seemed we’d gone straight
from fall to spring, not the best year for roses
either, probably, since hose use was banned

due to the drought, which showed itself
out the car windows in crisp brown fields
that made the highway seem unfamiliar

when we’d driven it hundreds of times,
a voice on the radio crowed about record heat
as we pulled into the parking lot of the beach

searched for a spot amid so many engines,
shuffled with the keys and boom box,
bottles of sunscreen, bags of chips

and someone’s cigarettes being lost,
then all turned to face the ocean
which by this point had gotten so high

the beach itself was actually gone, but someone
had out their phone, was showing off a photo
of a different beach so beautiful

we didn’t feel the water creep up our ankles,
submerge our knees, we entered into the ancient sea
like the belly of a whale, a shimmering blue python

swallowing us whole, oohing and ahhing
as a lifeguard stand floated on the surface of the water
now high above our heads, beach chairs bobbing

like haloes in high tide, we talked and laughed
in an oblivious underwater procession, our words
rising in bubbles to the sparkling surface.

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