Whiskey Island

On the first day
we're free to be together,
on a beach that won't be sand
anytime soon,
I'm sifting
weathered bits of glass
from the scree.

A shadow beside me, you pick
at pebbles.

     We hunker
     over
     everything
     together.

A BLAST
from the last lift
bridge
presses air
around
each leaf
on Whiskey Island.

     Your eyes turn into Adam's
     at his first sight of Creation-
          and you've heard the sound
          of the Lord God walking
          in the garden.

          I bear you toward it
          swift as
          His Breath.

We almost miss the freighter,
but I hoist you
up and we crest
the last hill
to watch a tug struggle
to true the Calumet's bow.

     At this moment
     you first learn what
     Boats Are.

At last
her prop begins
to churn and
as she greets the wide lake, you
stretch
after
her

carried on my shoulders
to the mouth of the Cuyahoga.

This poem has been simmering for nearly a year now, and the day that inspired it will always be special to me. I was very concerned that it not be mawkish or cliché. I’m still not convinced I made it work, and I think it could still use some polish, especially clarification of subjects & objects. Since it has been simmering so long, I figure I’d better publish it before I never publish it. Thanks to Steve Goldberg & Milenko Budimir for the workshop help.