Gray Socks
by Ryn Holmes

A single ray sneaks through the curtain
on a thunder-dark dawn,
waking up an urban fish out of water.
Rolling out of bed onto the wood floor,
she scratches, stretches,
then works out a few night-kinks
as gray-stocking’d feet shuffle toward
the kitchen’s aromatic first-light brew
drifting ’round her nodding, foggy noggin.
Sliding over to the front window,
she sips and swallows
in reverie,
staring out at the commuter traffic

and is back in faded baggies,
under the sun, offshore winds perfect.
Straddling the waxed board,
she bobs gently,
lined up with others watching,
waiting for a perfect curl.
As the intensity of waves increases,
she puts the water on notice, stands
hanging ten, then steps the deck
to carve a place on the face of a big one,
flying off the lip and into the sky –
a clean aerial.
Ears wind-whistled,
she drops into the pocket, weaves,
shooting the pipeline
to barrel through the green room
in a tube-ride faster than ever before.
Finally, pitching into the pit
she wipes out, stoked.
A totally rad ride!

Outside, city noises break open the dream.

IMAGE: “Tubed,” California surfing poster by The Poster Factory, available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My imaginary skill is surfing. Growing up exposed to the beach culture in Southern California, I spent many hours watching and envying surfers their freedom in the water.  Although I didn’t have the means at the time, I would have given anything to join them.

holmes photo

As writer and psychiatric nurse, Ryn Holmes has drawn inspiration from both patients and friends in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and now the Gulf Coast. She has been published in the Four & Twenty online poetry journal, various editions of the Emerald Coast Review, Syzygy Poetry Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, as well as Longleaf Pine magazine and others. An award-winning photographer, including first prize for “Art on Paper’” in San Francisco’s inaugural Art in the Park event, Ryn is a member of the West Florida Literary Federation, an editor at Panoply literary zine, and a partner in K & K Manuscript Editing.