Volume 15 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2023

Kate Sullivan

Mudlarking at the Beauport

The harbor is still, the air thick with a reluctant fog. A solitary old woman, dressed in a long black coat and a red hat, walks along the low tide line, head lowered, inspecting the narrow beach, bending occasionally to pick up shiny little bits of sea glass.  She pecks intently at the ground, inspecting, deciding, pocketing some pieces, throwing others back into the sea. Crows and seagulls drift about, lazily calling to one another, following her closely while keeping watch for any glimmering object or stray clam. The immortal infinity between water and sky makes flight seem possible. A wind comes up, gentle at first, then stronger, sweeping away the reluctant fog.  The lady walks along the water’s edge, propelled by the billowings of her dark coat.  Whenever she stops to look more closely at a glinting something-or-other, the birds, now multiplied, all rush to her, gathering ‘round to see what she has discovered.  She is lost in a cloud of birds. She seems to be one of them. The birds swirl up in a sudden gust. The lady grabs for her hat too late, the wind spinning it high over the water. She squawks in dismay. A quick-thinking crow swoops, snatches the hat in its beak, circles back and drops it on the beach at the lady’s feet.  She bends low, places her prize red hat on her head, then arches her back, spreading her arms wide in jubilation. She looks up now at the swarm of shrieking birds, her coat undulating in appreciation. Suddenly she rises with it, up, up into the crow-filled sky and flies off to sea, leaving her red hat on the beach.

Kate Sullivan likes to play around with words, music, and pictures. She has written and illustrated children’s picture books On Linden Square and What Do You Hear?, sung chansons at NYC Mme Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and her fugue-ish Fugitum est was performed at Carnegie Hall by The Kremlin Chamber Orchestra as part of their tribute to Mozart. She also likes to paint ostriches and plays the musical saw to impress people. Her work has appeared in The Dillydoun Review, Rush Literary Magazine, North of Boston, and