Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

The Scarcity of Sharks

by Trish Dugger

Nana’s big black umbrella that popped open,
at a press of a thumb, is forgotten in a closet.

Today the dry creek, lined with a regiment of
sand bags, waits and waits for El Nino rain.

There was a time screeching kids splashed,
trying to catch pollywogs wiggling in the creek.

She turns on a/c deep in winter, remembers
when she wore wooly sweaters, red mittens.

Everything changes, but nothing so much as
her desires. Iced tea instead of dry martini.

Cozy nap in bed instead of fucking on a futon.
The daily news instead of page turners, and

she smiles at a column about leopard sharks,
reads they are returning to La Jolla Shores.

The ocean, too warm for too long, is once again
cold, once again dotted with spotted sharks.


—Selected for Honorable Mention in the competition for the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2016, and first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17 (Garden Oak Press, February 2017); appears here with permissions from both poet and publisher.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Trish Dugger

ives in Cardiff by the Sea. Her first poetry collection is Scrambled (Garden Oak Press, 2012). She is a charter member of Full Moon Poets and The Pleasures of Poetry Workshop.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury