Sunset, Black Island— photo by author

So many times, I waited on the wharf.
for tide or wind to shift.
Lying back on sun-bleached planks,
halyards on the flagpole tapping
like a metronome left to mark the beat
long after the orchestra has packed and gone.

Later, crossing the bay,
looking to see my wake
a long wave curling behind,
ahead the the low grey rise of the island.
I thought of how arrival was not so much a gathering,
more a scattering.
Pieces left or lost,
at every stop along the way.
And every crossing, a journey tracing familiar ways,
hoping to chance upon or reconnect.

For a time,
long enough so it feels,
on the scale of a life,
we fit.
Even dare to think,
this is it, the one.
But time carries us on,
inexorable, relentless.

As I crossed the bay, following the line of the tide,
where it poured across the bar,
wedged against the wheel to ride the steep chop,
seeing my wake rise against the greater flow,
one proud moment before current and wind leave but an echo of my passing.
Hurrying for home and my boat snug on her mooring,
chores in the barn and a fire and supper for me.
Simple routines holding us from drifting away,
But the echo of my wake carries something I never named
some sorrow, a tag-along longing for what might yet be.
I never knew then, how far the wake spread behind me
nor how distant home might be.

Only in silent moments
do such truths arrive;
lonely sunset shores,
forests in their winter dreams,
and in the crossing, neither here nor there.

Writer, walker, poet, educator. Commercial fisherman, builder, donut maker, organic grower. Boston, U. City, Maine, South Africa, Madrid.

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