from an unfinished water color by Anthony Pless
Boats hang, like hammocks,
from wharfs half-painted,
sketched in those last seconds
before the flood,
offspring of the outline,
settled like a sleeper in a net.
An orange flag beats above
a fisher's tree and trestle, bullying
a west wind that won't own up;
sails of burlap
where the color went wrong,
blues bleed into burgundies.
A rusted sign swings in the balance
of air without a message
no sign of land
or the close commitments of men
to steer the wreck.
Two shanties rise on stilts
stilted by the suddenness of water.
A pelican tries to take shape on a buoy
but ends in a thousand lines of light,
dreaming that the fog will fill him in.
Copyright © 2002