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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Poem: 205 words
By Robert Eugene Rubino

Dead Pelicans

How dare those dead brown pelicans 
spoil our Point Reyes day hike 
spilled out lined up upon the shore of Abbot’s Lagoon 
like five Death Squad victims of a civil war 
in a country you’d likely be hard-pressed to find 
in a brick-thick dog-eared road atlas 
or on a library’s morbidly obese unspun globe. 

How dare those dead brown pelicans 
spoil our Point Reyes day hike 
spilled out lined up upon the shore of Abbot’s Lagoon 
in line determined to take their turn 
to intrude upon our more photogenic memories: 
the three-year-old digging the day 
the glorious day digging in the sand ...

the lone surfer the crashing waves the soaring gulls 
two pensive patient herons and one elegant egret 
the 10-year-old kite-flying expert 
flocks of more fortunate pelicans ...
and us—poor privileged anonymous us 
a hand-in-hand senior-citizen couple 
trying to hold on to more than each other’s hand. 

How dare those five brown pelicans 
laid out dead on the shore of Abbot’s Lagoon 
with their alien avian mysteries 
their starvation as unnerving 
as their starkly perfect prehistoric features—
how dare they ... how dare they 
spoil our otherwise perfect Point Reyes day hike. 

Robert Eugene Rubino
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

is the author of a prose and poetry collection, Aficionado (Humming Word Press), and two poetry collections: Vanity Unfair and Other Poems (Cathexis Northwest Press) and Douglas Knocks Out Tyson (UnCollected Press). He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Seventeen of Rubino’s poems published across seven issues of The Write Launch (2019-2022)

Hollow Be Thy Name, a poem by Rubino in Issue 12 of KYSO Flash (Summer 2019)

An Interview With Robert Eugene Rubino at Haunted Waters Press

Owl House, a poem in Splash! (Haunted Waters Press)

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