The Magic Kingdom

Philip Schultz

It’s a lovely May Sunday, and my old dogs limp
behind me up the beach as my sons scour the ocher sand
like archivists seeking the day’s quota of mystery.

To them it’s a magical kingdom, their minds tiny
oceans of good and evil strategies, the hard traffic
of dreams enclosed by a flourishing expectation.

We came here for the mature light, the devout ripening
silence of the woods at the night, the enormous skies.
It was lush, lonely and secret enough. Now clouds drift

along the sky’s pink awning, each a wish, a gift I must return.
I never thought I’d have so much to give up; that the view
from the other side of my life would be so precious.

This is no place to think of Camus, who believed the soul
expected to be despised, executed every day of its life.
This is where I’d come to say good-bye. Bless each mile

these arthritic animals tag behind, my sons who think
happiness will make them happy. The ocean isn’t magical,
anyone’s kingdom, it’s where we go to be human, and
grateful.

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