The DMQ Review

Sausalito Ferry
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.

Thomas Bates
Copyright © 2002

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