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.

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