The Bird Leg

The Bird Leg

“Do you recall the late evening we
walked out into the receding tide
along the lengthy bird leg like narrow
stretch of wet sand. It carried

into the sea like a living thing,
waves breaking on both sides as
if we were to be pitched into eternal
darkness. No one spoke. We sat near

the final edge of the pointed muck,
the leg’s final tooth like spur
which had only moments prior been
fully submersed. Looking up into

the clouds’ silhouettes, a slight
glimmer from the moon casting
shadows against the still receding
surf. There were few stars among the

obscurity. We sat at the end there
for a long while, as though it were
the edge of matter and time. ‘Will
the tide come in upon us?’ I serenely

thought, blackness on all sides while
far from the mainland’s distant lamps.
Gulls, Pipers and Pelicans on their perch.
‘We’ll have no time to get out should she rise,’

I further pondered knowing you were
in a like mindset. The vastness of
the environment. Still in our evening
attire, we’d narrowly escaped the plunge,

returning, newly educated, to the main
from the paste like natural jetty.
While sitting in the silence of the
breaking waves one felt alone, all egos

having reached the sodden dregs;
saltwater seeping its expunging
presence, yet not one of us
said a word the whole episode. Why?”

“I recall it well, little brother. I recall
it to this day,” expounded one while hand over
hand lifting a crab trap sunken deep below the
pier. “Both of you look up this evening

at the illumination from the one bulb above
us. What do you see?”

“Moths,” the senior replied.

“Yes, many. Like a light cream mist below the moon.
Why do moths in the nighttime seek the light?”

“It’s how they’ve been programed, of course –
the moths. Fodder for flying foxes,”
exclaimed the eldest, observing two crabs
being tossed into the bucket and one too

small being returned to the sea. “While we sat
there in the stillness that night
and early morn years ago, surrounded by peril’s
breaking waves, I, as most likely

did both of you, experienced a sense of humility
and finality. It was a material reflection –
the minuteness of man.”

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