Thursday, July 4, 2013

Phoenixes


Listening to music tonight to drown out the fireworks, I was thinking about the fishing season just under way in Alaska, and found this on the page a few minutes later:



The Clothes They Wore


In my dream tonight
I stood on the deck of a boat
surrounded by ghosts of fishermen
who never returned from the sea.

They walked on water.

All of them rose out of the ocean
dripping, but not wet
and stood there facing me
as if to tell me what I missed.

I didn’t question the logic
of the dream. It was a dream, after all.
Not a nightmare.
But I had to wonder:

all these unnamed drowned,
no monument with a name attached
or standing near the shore
Phoenixes, wings spread cold before me.

No smiles or frowns, nor masks of anguish
on tortured faces. Passive expressions all.
 Not one spoke. They stood in a circle 
around me, my engine at idle.

Waves lapped the side of the boat.
I looked around – all points.
As far as I could see, they were there,
some in oilskins and nor’westers

some in sweatpants and bare feet.
The clothes they wore. I wondered
what would happen if I did not awaken –
if I would join them. It was then,

my t-shirt soaked with salt water, I did.

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