Makes a Rational Line

Makes a Rational Line


I had three encouragements—1st, a smooth, calm sea; 2ndly, the tide rising, and setting in to the shore; 3rdly, what little wind there was blew me towards the land.

                                                                 - Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe 


My line of sight stretches from our back porch

out to the Sound, and then bends where the marsh

in May is turning green,

                                        and over the marsh

to a lacey scrim of surf right angled to my line.


            you’d never be able

            to sing any of this

            there are blue blossoms

            on the Lilac bush


Even up close, the sea stays that far away.

Its mysteries are older than almost anything.

Most of it

                 lies underneath the often wild

surface and it’s the wind that kicks that up.


The depths are very still, dark, and cold.


            a frantic house wren

            caught by its own claws

            in the window screen

            his life before his eyes


The waves rise up in the wind, come onto shore

and shatter against the rocks,

                                                their white fingers

clawing at the sky. They’ve been sent in here

from long distances by the wind, from far

out to sea, where it makes swells as big as hills.


            in the time we’ve been

            here, all the leaves

            have come out on the trees

            is how shade is made


No one here ever sits on the shore and turns their

back to the sea.


            a cormorant’s as black

            as the rock he waits on

low tide reveals the smell

of uncovered molluscs



Charles D. Tarlton



Charles D. Tarlton is a retired politics professor who has been writing poetry and short prose since 2006. He lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut with his wife, Ann Knickerbocker, an abstract painter, and a black female standard poodle named Nikki.  

He published poetry since 2006 has appeared in Jack Magazine, Shampoo, Review Americana, Tipton, Barnwood, Abramelin, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, The Houston Literary Review, Simply Haiku, Haibun Today, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Atlas Poetica, Contemporary Haibun Online, Blue and Yellow Dog, Shot Glass, Sketchbook, Skylark, Six Minute Magazine, Cricket Online Review, Red Booth Review, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Rattle, Dark Matter, Muse India, Inner Art Journal, Prune Juice, Ekphrastic Review, Blackbox Manifold (UK), Undertow Tanka Review, Spirit Wind Gallery, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Ribbons, Unbroken Journal, KYSO Flash, Ekphrastic Review, tinywords, Red Lights, The Journal (UK), Tallow Eider Quarterly, The American Aesthetic, London Grip, Book Ends Review, Ilanot Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Peacock  Journal, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Nebo, and Palette.


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