At the neck of Samish Island a chestnut draft horse is freed

of his stays. He turns his head to nuzzle patches of sweat

where the leather just sat. The torte with blackberries and lemon

rind crackles between my teeth. Flycatchers depart and the loons

return wafting over the waterline with pale ringed necks

and red eyes. I walk a spit of the Skagit estuary heedless

of the hunting safety zone and season. Signs warn me

I may be inundated with the tide. Down a long trail colonnaded

by dense velvet clubs of cattails: oystercatchers prance

in the mud flats, yellow mouth eagle on the snag. The air

takes on thick licks of salt and I am walking a mosaic

surface through the sea water, dun cut with slim channels.

The clot of swallows streaming from the cornfield miles inland

arrow to a delicate smear of grime on the flat gray horizon

of my backward glance. Gull calls warble with eerie resonance

as the sea bends my legs and takes me to the chest

holding my arms to my sides. My eyes go bloodshot and I dive.