Joe Cottonwood

Joe Cottonwood

Joe Cottonwood’s new book of poetry, Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast is about life where we live around Half Moon Bay, from pelicans to pumpkins to giant redwood trees, from dangerous driving to sunny hiking, from earthquakes shaking the house to pumas by the roadside to seals giving birth on the beach, all served with a generous helping of dogs. Joe is the author of novels for adults (Famous Potatoes, Clear Heart) and for children (Quake!, The San Puerco Trilogy). His poems are scattered all over the Internet as well as appearing in journals and anthologies. The setting for many of his books is the little town of “San Puerco” which bears a striking resemblance to the town of La Honda. His previous book is the award-winning 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses. Joe has worked in the building trades for most of his life, starting as a carpenter, becoming a general contractor repairing and remodeling houses.

Crab or Gull

In the swash zone
a desperate crab somehow overturned,
belly-up. Dome-backed, helpless,
she twitches feet and claws
grasping only air
as seagulls gather, smacking lips.

Shall I intervene?
Who do I favor, crab or gull?
Frankly I have problems with both personalities.

Can’t ignore a creature in distress.
(Who programmed that?)
Wiggle my toes into damp sand beneath the beast.
With nary an acknowledgement, crab scuttles
sideways to a spot in the wave wash
where in a flutter of little legs she half-buries herself,
eyeballs above.
Seagulls scream curses.

What did I expect, a thank you?

Redwood Prayer

Grant me deep roots.
Solid branches.
Let the fires pass me by.
Let generations of squirrels and blue jays
        hop on my limbs.
Let me breathe fog, chew sunlight
        and look down
over centuries.