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The Birch on The Shore

A watercolor and gouache painting of a coastal landscape. In the foreground is a lone birch, painted with bold strokes of gray, white, and baby blue. In the background is a raging storm, where white capped waves crash against a sandy beach and rocky jettys. In the background is also a white lighthouse, with a yellow beam of light that cuts horizontally across the right vertical third of the painting. The sky is full of gray storm clouds with a bolt of yellow lightning. The reflection of the lightning is seen on the ocean.
The Birch on The Shore by Thomas Calimari, 2020, Watercolor & Gouache, 7”x13”


By Rebecca Hart Olander

We are split, many-trunked, jarred lightning, moon glow
glinting on marine, splatter of salt-seeped water on rocks.

We branch, tributary, lighthouse beam through skeins
of cloud, through turbulence. We grow lonely on the shore,

dig our fingers into the shattered crumbs of old stones—
this beached waiting room, this emptied hourglass.

Time slips through fists while we try not to think about
how far we are from home, what we are missing

in our original places. We bramble the dark, beneath bushes,
plunging depths. We are illustrations, illustrative,

petroglyphs etched on bark. Do you hear the low growl
of thunder from the next town over calling to you, neighbor?

Do you see how sparks fly when sea meets coast,
when the evening’s electricity can’t keep from spilling

from one plane into another? The way waves do,
in the ocean. The way you might, in my arms.

About the Poet

Rebecca Hart Olander’s poetry has appeared recently in Crab Creek Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and her collaborative work has been published in multiple venues online and in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (BLP). Rebecca is a Women’s National Book Association poetry contest winner and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her chapbook, Dressing the Wounds, was published in 2019 by dancing girl press, and her full-length collection, Uncertain Acrobats, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in November 2021. Rebecca teaches writing at Westfield State University and is editor/director of Perugia Press.

About the Artist

Thomas Calamari is an Illustrator currently enrolled at Montserrat College of Art in the Illustration concentration. Thomas’s preferred medium is watercolor and gouache on either watercolor paper or illustration board. This artwork was his final project for one of his classes in the 2020 fall semester.