Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ocean Point Again

Ocean Point Again

Stumping from ledge to ledge, surf
creaming a few feet below,
I find I’m not as agile
as the Vinalhaven summer
we wasted on each other
decades ago when the ashes
of Vietnam circled the globe.

Looking into the sunstruck water,
I detect a thousand shipwrecks
clinging to the weedy bottom.
You’ve named half of those sinkings
after yourself, half after me.
Shingled houses overlook
the point. People who live there

can taste the surf every day,
“healing, illimitable salt”
that couldn’t heal the mutual
lobotomy we attempted.
On a tiny pine-trimmed island
a lighthouse I can’t name lures
the eye. Through binoculars

I watch a man stroll up the ramp
to enter the forty-foot tower.
On that island I could pass
the rest of my life on crosswords
and boring old novels no one
in this new century should read.
The rocks try to break my ankles,

but I’m still too smart for them.
I avoid the slippery tide-smut
of rockweed and plant my steps
firmly on grainy surfaces
so I don’t fall the way you fell
into the worst kind of wealth,
all surfaces polished to kill.

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