Bodega Bay Internship by Jeff Burt

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Bodega Bay Internship
by Jeff Burt

Scraping out oysters
just to scrape by

waves scraping back
draft daft captain capped

pelican turns and terns on cans
muscular mussels

gulls the grafters grifters
gifts of dry dock

grit in paint peel
pearled on deck

propellers spun
sun-lures in the harbor

car broken down
tow truck for a starter

but once started
never ending repairs

boat tow to drop collectors
of coastal acidification

toe sliced by rock
gaining a foothold

toe-finding oysters
weeping over oysters

killing oysters at the bar
killing time

pain collected
mouth bi-valve

closed to beautify
opened for pearls

full of personal pluck
preening like a snowy plover

stealing like a seagull
spunk of an otter

greased like a goose
like an axle

like a winch to raise a boat
a broken car

a weathering spirit
marine sprit

varnish to seal
drink of the harsh

stuck in the bodega
on the bodega

feet buried in mud
dumb-struck by touch

face free to the wind
unwinding

PHOTO: Sunset, Bodega Bay, California. Photo by Arthur Cofresi, used by permission.

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NOTE: Bodega Bay is a shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California. Approximately 5 miles across, it is located about 40 miles northwest of San Francisco. The bay is a marine habitat used for navigation, recreation (including swimming and surfing), and commercial and sport fishing (including shellfish harvesting). Marine protected areas near Bodega Bay include: Russian River State Marine Reserve and Russian River State Marine Conservation Area, Bodega Head State Marine Reserve & Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area, Estero Americano State Marine Recreational Management Area, Estero de San Antonio State Marine Recreational Management Area. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Bodega Bay north of San Francisco and Point Reyes is an oyster and boat town, and as remarkable the sights of Point Reyes, the flattened shores, the oyster bays, Bodega Bay has a beauty in grit, sea craft, paints, winches, camshafts, seagulls everywhere. It is a transition point of water life and earth life, of the ocean’s wonder and the beauty of the human spirit. My daughter had taken an internship at the UC Davis Coastal and Marine Science Institute in the summer of 2009 at Bodega Bay, studying coastal acidification and its effect on marine life. Her car had broken down, so we traveled to her, and were able to spend time in throes with Point Reyes, the harbor, and grand collision of ocean and earth.

PHOTO: Pelican at Bodega Bay (California) by Joaolrneto, used by permission.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, and works in mental health. He grew up in the Midwest before making his home in California, though the landscapes of Wisconsin and Nebraska still populate his vision. He has contributed to Heartwood, Williwaw Journal, Sheila-na-Gig, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Poetry Prize.

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