IN THE WATER THAT COMES BEFORE THE DAWN
shrouded in their heavy working clothes,
call one another.
and the other gives back across the warm heart of town
the tone, an octave lower.
The faces of a family
gather at the window of the laundromat.
Although they're only
beads of steam,
a trick of moon, I refuse to look away.
The smell of old men washed clean humbles me.
I have been up all night.
A car is parked in the drizzle where the bones of my face
float in a puddle.
In the phone booth I found a glove,
brushed it against my chin,
its fingers along my throat.
herons lift off the ferry pilings;
was kicking off soaked pants in the kitchen
the night his bilge failed
and had to stand
to his waist in muck beside the mooring.
Ten years later,
on that gold evening,
his tongue already deserting him, he saw the sea
from the hospital bed;
a boy in a boat
turns from rowing,
a white boat on the gold water.
The foghorn quiet,
a first rooster coughs at the dirty end of night.
My shoes are wet.