(1953 - / North Carolina / United States)


I saw you in the rainy morning
from the window of the hotel room,
running down the gangplank to board the boat.
You were wearing your famous orange pants

which are really apricot
and the boat rocked a little
as you stepped on its edge.

You were going to work
with your backpack and sketchbook
and your bushy grey hair
which bursts out in weather
like a steel wool bouquet.

That's how my heart is, I thought—
It lies coiled inside of me, asleep,
then springs out and shocks me
with all of its muchness.

But as I was dreaming, your boat pulled away.
Then there was just the grey sheen
of the harbor left behind, like unpolished steel

and the steep green woods that grow down to the shore
and the gauze of mist on the hills.

It was your vanished boat
which gave the scene a shape,
with its suggestion of journey and destination.

And the narrative then, having done its work,
it vanished too,
leaving just its affectionate cousin description behind;

which lingers,
and loves for no reason.

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