Pelicans

Robert Alexander Wray

by

You stopped beside me, leaned on the railing, and looked at the sea…
You…stopped beside me…leaned on the railing…and looked out at the sea…
You, with your copper blue wraparound shades, with your copper blues, aligned to the sea…
and your brand-new totem tattoo.
What was that thing anyway? Was it an eagle? Was that an eagle on your back, with its body
engulfed in flames, its heart melting and serious…? Was that an eagle’s wing fused to your body,
with its crackling feathers? I didn’t look closely enough. Even though you were beside me, leaning
on the railing…looking at the sea…
It’s funny…Funny how an ocean on a misty day, with no clear horizon or sun to compete with,
when it’s silvery gray everywhere, and no sun, it’s funny how that can just overtake you…That’s
what I was thinking while you were beside me, leaning on the…on the railing, and the sea.
I should’ve talked about that. Should’ve said something. I couldn’t. I almost said, ‘Are you cold?’
But I didn’t…Not with the sea there…and the pelican.
Where did that goddamn pelican come from? All of a sudden it was just there, in profile, in full
regal profile, still and silent…by the sea…
I thought you’d have to go and meet it, but you stayed, perfectly silent beside me, looking out…
I wonder what you were thinking then, with the pelican there, attracting the French tourists and
the bearded man in white and the crying pretty girl in the wetsuit…What were you thinking, what
thoughts were you weaving together as you stood beside me, on the railing, on the sea…
with your Ziggy Stardust hair.
I guess Bowie and Hendrix and Cobain would know. They’re closer to you now than I am…
Maybe you and the pelican are right, maybe a wax like stoicism should accompany all of us. Then
again, maybe I’M right, and maybe it would be easier to just hate you…beside me…leaning on
the railing, looking at the sea…

Robert Alexander Wray is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, has won awards, and been produced in New York, regionally and abroad. Other works include: Melancholy Echo, Ocean View Odyssey, and Ground Streaming Blood.