From Phrasebook for the Pleiades, winner
of the 2012 Cider Press Review Book Award
The last ferry leaves and I watch it
become a dim light at pier’s end, thinking
it does not matter to me as my rowboat
thuds the piling. And I would lie here awhile
but everything is moving forward.
The wind wishes it of all of us: ragged net
and towline, hurricane lamp. It urges us
off our hooks. An entire island out of season,
empty slips and every other mansion
abandoned. Only the ocean insisting on its sound.
In a bay window a green balloon bobs
toward the amber chandelier. A dead seagull,
a circle of claw prints around it in the sand.
Further on, a bouquet of rose stems, petals detached
by some blunt force, the bow: immaculate,
gathering back a short-lived joy.
We leave behind scenes others come upon and wonder
what happened. The bird becomes a god
the world forms around. Broken glass takes
the shape it once made as it lit the way back.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 2.