Calliope - Michael Sandler

Tug of winter thought
on summer moorings,
it’s nearly evening,
as over boardwalk slats
a lone cyclist clatters
while tendrils of a chill
eddy from the Atlantic, clouds
wrapping sky in muted light,
voices muffled by the breakers…

Mother’s voice beckoning us
to shore as if the start
of school could counteract
the weightlessness of waves
with a ballast of instruction;

voice of a hawker,
Three for a dollar,
threading past a few stragglers
and disappearing
into a beep-beep
of taillights, radios
tuned to summer’s threnody;

the ocean voicing a reprise…

Redolence of old lotion, salt,
sand clinging to our toes
as we trudge behind her
past overflowing trash bins
and a vacant lifeguard hut.
She isn’t moved by the wind
piping like a far-off calliope
or by my voice imploring,
Just one more day?

Michael Sandler began writing poems in law school. For years, he wrote for his distraction and the desk drawer, while working as a lawyer and later as an arbitrator. Michael began to publish in 2009. Since then, his poems have appeared in scores of journals and in a recently published poetry collection, The Lamps of History (FutureCycle Press 2021). Michael lives near Seattle; his website is