Anthony Dirk Ray

Fairhope Pier


it was a humid end of December day

gray and dreary tones abound

clouds thick with sunshine peeking through

parting the floating cotton


shrubs and trees

greener than green

absorbing life they’d been without


no breeze to disturb the water

which lay flat and motionless

so still


every color of rose

available to the eye

their fragrance in the air


the long pier seemed to disappear into the fog


boats lined up like soldiers

awaiting their next deployment


latino men on the bench

speaking spanish I assume


young couples fishing

old couples walking


I was walking


then at the end

which seemed

the middle of the bay


fish jumping

birds flying


me in awe


seagulls prancing in front of me

on the old weathered cracked wood


pelicans seemingly diving to their death

only to retrieve a morsel of heart pumping goodness


my girl recalls a story about pelican deaths


they go blind and die


the constant smashing onto

the top of the water

causes them to go blind

and starve to death


I replied


save the pelicans


invest in tiny goggles





Birthday 2005


I went to a parade downtown

saw floats, saw tits, saw drunks

drove to my folk’s rental in spanish fort

my mom, taking tequila shots

my dad, working shift work at the mill

a great meal offered and ingested

a great day

I thought

“is it hot in here?” my mother asked

“not to me,” I replied

as I searched for drum and bass ringtones

for my new phone just purchased for me

“I’m having trouble breathing,” she said

time is of the essence I thought

I called 911

I put a leash on the dog

as my mother went to the back

to get dressed for the ambulance

she returned with fear in her eyes, asking

“when will they be here?”

at that time

I assume

realizing she had no heart beat

I was unaware of this at that point

looking back

I should have called again

but I was in complete denial and comforting her


I watched my mother die a fast death


to her

I’m sure it was slow

suffocating, turning purple, and scared

no breath to be had

despite trying

I said, “I love you.”

somehow between gasps of air

she was able to get out

“I love you too

tell your dad”

I said, “I know, save your breath.”

no heartbeat

no breath

no hope

no help

flailing and convulsing upon the floor

not a goddamn thing I could do

but stare in shock

where the fuck are the paramedics I thought

finally they arrived and began working on her

at the hospital questions were answered

blood pressure skyrocketed

heart stopped

and lungs slowly filled with fluid

my mother had drowned from within

the lungs drained

the heart revived

but consciousness had not returned

her brain had been without oxygen for about an hour

left in a vegetative state

we waited two weeks for a miracle

or at least

any sign of improvement

or life

kept alive by machines

that’s no life

that’s not life

the machines were switched off

and I watched my mother die

for the second time



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