History Lesson, North of Whitby
by Rhonda Pettit

    Clouds droop,
    intermittent drops of sunlight
    fall, but the British on holiday park
    their cars along the road
    above Sandsend beach
    and sit.

    Some nap, smoke, read The Times
    or a book. Some pour hot tea
    and chew the remnants
    of their crust.
    Some venture out
    and down
    to the beach, and
    linger until damp

    gusts blowing off the North Sea,
    like roughened hands that know
    a body's limitations, thrust
    them back.

    They retreat
    but they do not leave.
    Others remain in their cars all day.

    Not one of them here to fish,
    yet haven't they cast out a line,
    reeled in a small,
    colorless one,

    refused to throw it back or let it die?
    In any other land,
    they might starve.

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