Pelican over water at dusk

Why We Have Pelicans

By Rob Carney

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Old Roads, New Stories: A Literary Series

Why We Have Pelicans

Forget about the beak,
the famous neck pouch,

and just watch them glide 
one foot above their shadows on the water.

Salt. That’s the edge
you can smell in the wind.

And there isn’t
a bright enough word—

not sun,
not squint,

not your-hand-like-a-visor—
for the light reflecting off of blue.

There’s a line of them now…
maybe ten; no, a dozen…

like a sentence
from an unread book.

Chapter 1: So the sea made pelicans.
Chapter 2: They dipped their beaks 

and hauled the shoreline up,
Chapter 3: then the grasses and animals.

And last of all us.



Rob CarneyRob Carney’s new book Facts and Figures is available from Hoot ‘n’ Waddle. Previous books include The Book of Sharks and 88 Maps. His first collection of creative nonfiction, Accidental Gardens, is forthcoming from Stormbird Press.
Read Rob Carney’s Letter to America in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, published by Terrain.org and Trinity University Press.
Read poetry by Rob Carney appearing in Terrain.org: 6th Annual Contest Finalist, 4th Annual Contest Winner, and Issue 30. And listen to an interview on Montana Public Radio about The Book of Sharks.

Header photo by paulbr75, courtesy Pixabay.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.