Poems

Indian River, I

March: nothing here but a blank tinker-toy city of docks,
and one revved-up loon piercing the watery center
with its sharp, ancient beak. All alone, it locks

and unlocks the depths. I remember to think how weird
for a bird to fly through water. Meanwhile, little pings,
mooring rings nudging shoulders with the pilings,

and I’m shifting foot-to-foot on the balcony, waiting
for the loon to show, wondering why it divides itself, how
it knows how. I wonder if it’s mocking me.

A fishing boat comes through. Red and blue
jackets emerge, attach tough lines. Way out, dashing
along: eight wild sails. If the sea were thrashing,

we’d be saved by that exclamatory wall of posts. It’s
all dangerous: water, air, these railings and thermal
doors. It’s a wonder anyone leaves the womb, that we haul

our sails up into this. Notice how far I’ve come, though—
I want credit, here—to swing this far out between one
thing and another. It’s hard, given my dumb,

uncontrollable impulse toward harbor. I like to go down
and pull the covers over, but here’s the loon again, rhyme
leaps up. It’s a radical world, a boat pitching around

at its lines, that one there cheerily named Lost Time.

—from Reunion (2007)