No Headway | Cathie Sandstrom

No Headway

by Cathie Sandstrom


For long moments a hard breeze

off the Pacific holds aloft over

wetlands, a gull flapping yet hanging—

treading air until he feints


down and south along the water’s edge

looking for a doorway into the wind.

The woman watching him also searches

for a passage from here to what follows.


Above her, fast-moving clouds veil

the sunset, harbingers of the marine fog

she’ll wake to. In failing light she turns her face

westward, closes her eyes, lifts her chin.


The gull, finding no opening, glides low.

She raises her arms, stands in the wind’s indifference.


As a military brat, never “from around here,” Cathie Sandstrom has lived in ten states: Japan, England, Denmark, and Germany. Even though she’s lived many years now in the same house, she still expects to hear from the Pentagon any day. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Lyric, The Comstock Review, Cider Press Review, Ekphrasis, among others journals, and is forthcoming in The Southern Review. Her poem “You, Again” is in the artists’ book collection at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles: proof, she says, of the existence of poetry angels. She lives in a village up against the San Gabriel Mountains, minutes north of Los Angeles. She thinks Chopin wrote the Nocturnes just for her.