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The Boat

It's not what I'd have chosen at this time,

not with the bird's nest scattered on the grate

or the wounded music of the house alarm

coming in waves across darkness and two streets.

This morning, the grass at the sycamore was scorched

and these pages were out of sequence on the desk.

What will it be tonight: a small boat lightly edging home

to be met by faces in half-light at the port?

I will know it as the one I have arranged

and must soften with quilts and coats,

make sure you have food to last and an address.

I will push the boat to sea when the oarsman nods.

Wait for me. I have only this to finish.

This poem originally ran in the July 26, 2004, issue of the magazine.