Shipping containers heaped six
stories high shade sunbathers
at Pleasure Bay. Commerce smiles
more convincingly than the sun
as I savor colorful boxes
of cheap goods shipped from China
to cripple our shy economy.
The old stone fort on the island
doesn’t challenge the huge black
container ships that arrive
once or twice a week to shed
loads trundled through Panama.
It also ignores tankers churning
further up the harbor to Chelsea
to vomit oil from Baton Rouge.
The sea-horizon crinkles in mist.
Wind shucks through the playground
where toddlers chitter and howl.
The curved line of beach flexes
a single great bicep to assert
the power of form over function.
A man walks a tiny dog along
the weed-line stitched by the tide.
The dog noses every shell or scrap
of trash, every torn strop of kelp.
I want to fold this genre scene
into my pocket and take it home
to examine under lamplight.
But those half-naked sun-lovers
forcing the season would object.
And the container ship unloading
its red and green and blue boxes
would shudder and tilt in the wash,
the ripples expanding all the way
to China, where someone important
might file an official complaint.