Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sea of Seasons

On a late November day you arrive,
A low sun to whet the shadow's edge,
Counterpoint for the eye at the window
Thinking of the days unreal years ago,
Winter weekends full of a bell’s tones
On the footbridge that spans the globe
In the Christian Science Church,
While you made the custodial rounds—
Hello, Hello, I'd say to the giant stain-
Shape of Russia, the Soviet monster
In red, in my father’s head and yours,
Hello Africa over the railing, England,
China at my back. November cold
On Clearway, concrete, asphalt, brick
Cold, while here it’s all green and brown
Weeds in the field, young birch trees
Bent clinging to the last of their leaves.
A wall of wind crosses the road, waves
Hit home and I think of the fortress
On Castle Island at our backs, Logan
Across the channel, the great cargo ships
From a four-cornered world unloading,
Loading up for journeys of a lifetime;
A mackerel jig on your line. What a sight
To see those dead fish with their eyes
Staring, heads chopped off, gutted
And filleted on the dock, someone else
With a bucket, a live one too big to turn,
Dive, to surface before dinner. Yes, yes,
I'd cry for a melting softy ice-cream
Cone on the rocks along the shore, gulls
Sailing for scraps on the fishy breeze.
You'd hold my hand climbing down
Where the waves clapped into crevices
And the seaweed gave the motion form,
Food and cover for starfish and crabs.
You loved the summer sea, winter seas
And November at the window watching
An ancient seabed shaped by the wind
Ten thousand miles from your grave,
I think of us together, and hear it
From some other world in the days 
Before I knew what November meant, 
What seas and seasons I'd come to navigate,
That someday you'd be gone for good
And leave me at the water’s edge.

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