Peninsula, Long Beach
by Donna Hilbert

On this beach the days are mild, evenings cool.
Wind kicks up at three, unvaried as bread
sliced from a single loaf. I read
the seasons by the setting sun: summer’s spool
hidden by high rise, and then, the slow pull
toward Catalina. By fall, the sun beds
down in open ocean, un-obscured
except by cruise and cargo ships schooled
before the port. Neighbors say Upton Sinclair
left Pasadena to summer on this beach.
I wonder how he conjured slaughter
houses—the severed flesh, the stench—in air
so sweet? Did suffering stay within his reach
while dolphins leapt and sun melted to water?

PHOTOGRAPH: “Long Beach, California” by Donna Hilbert.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Donna Hilbert’s latest chapbook, The Democracy of Carbon, is collected in Swallow Dance, from Silver Birch Press. Earlier books include The Congress of Luminous Bodies, from Aortic Books; The Green Season, World Parade Books, a collection of poems, stories and essays, now available in an expanded second edition; Mansions, and Deep Red, from Event Horizon, Transforming Matter, and Traveler in Paradise from PEARL Editions, and the short story collection Women Who Make Money and the Men Who Love Them from Staple First Editions and published in England. New work is in recent or forthcoming issues of Chiron Review, Mas Tequila Review, Nerve Cowboy and PEARL. She is a frequent contributor online journals including A Year of Being Here, Cadence Collective, Little Eagle’s Re/Verse, NewVerseNews, and Your Daily Poem. Her work is widely anthologized, most recently in The Widows’ Handbook, Kent State University Press. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com.