Summer Vacation

snorkled in toxic water between the crossings
of glass bottom boats loaded
with tourists from four cruise ships anchored
like floating skyscrapers
in the bay blocking the view of the coastline
then climbed into a motorized polyurethane
raft crammed with scuba tanks stun guns soda cans
saw one bald eagle
on the one scorched square mile of cliff left
without condominiums
and the assistant guide to the guide said the bird is
see the orange splotch
use the rubber armor tripod adaptable multi-coated binoculars
we take the egg out of the nest and fly it
to San Francisco non-stop hurry up incubate
and replace it with a fake egg
and when the bird hatches jet the baby back drugged
in a locked box look! dolphins
they’re leaping away from us but don’t worry
we’ll follow get real close


Susan Browne’s poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Subtropics, River City, The Mississippi Review, Writer’s Almanac, American Life in Poetry, and 180 More, Extraordinary Poems for Everyday.  Her awards include prizes from the Chester H. Jones Foundation, the National Writer’s Union , the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, and the River Styx International Poetry Contest. Her work was nominated for a Pushcart Award. Selected as the winner of The Four Way Books Prize, her first book, Buddha’s Dogs, was published in 2004. She also has a word/music CD with poet Kim Addonizio, Swearing, Smoking, Drinking, & Kissing,available from  Her second book, Zephyr, won the Editor’s Prize at Steel Toe Books.  She teaches at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California .

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