Morning Poem, September 2, 2014

OREGON INLET, AUGUST, 2011

 

We stand on packed gravel by the marina

In the hot afternoon

And look east, down the wide inlet

And to the horizon

It is a perfect, unbroken line

Between sky and sea

Not a sign to be seen.

 

Then she draws me away

Pointing to children, calf-deep in backwater

Bacon swinging on a string

On a stick

They are netting crabs

And having a fine go of it.

 

I look at the others milling about

There are more now than half an hour ago

But no one looks at watch or phone

Do they know more than we do

Or less?

 

I look east again

And there they are

I’ve never seen this before

But this must be how it looks every day

Black dots on the horizon

North and south

Silent and seemingly static

But they merge as if directed by some officer

With whistle and gloves

Standing on the ocean

Five miles from shore

 

The westward line forms

The dots equidistant, still silent

And in moments the dots are not black, but white

Now and again lost for moments in the glare

 

Now I see the tall rigging, the outriggers

The trophy flags, red, yellow and white

What do they mean?

 

There is no engine sound until the boats

glide down the inlet

And turn into the quay

 

They dock, one by one

And deck hands, energetic

Lift long fish from the boats’ ice bins

And throw them one by one onto the deck

They bounce, hollow-sounding

Against the sun-bleached boards

 

Black tuna, now walleyed

Only hours ago breathing in the blue depth

And racing in the sunny, green shallows

Of the unbounded ocean.

 

Now they are meat

The sharp knives work quickly

Expertly turning the creatures

Into steaks and filets

Red as a raspberry

 

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