Riff to Summer Solstice from Point Hudson Jetty
Sometimes the pack of yellow dogs you see is not coyote,
merely a trio of black-tailed deer marooned in pale light.
Gaunt one looks me in the eye, hesitates, then scavenges
low tide scrabble kelp, tattered magenta, while two does
stand aloof, in the margins of a dream.
Aloft, fake hollow owls perch mizzenmasts of yawls
moored in the cove, rigged for Glacier Bay, the Bering Sea,
the deep, measured in fathoms, orange survival suits.
Even local cormorants hitchhike dinghies towed by beamy
oak ketches, the Cascade mountain chain, scissor-cut,
like the first time we sail the Sound, close-haul, starboard tack,
squall beating down our coordinates, salt air frizzled like splayed
rind of tangerine, and the pomegranate
for Rosh Hashanah, my friend, Wendy, gave to me,
meaning, precious the New Year—bitter seed to stain the tongue,
plum pink, hue of the emissions plume
over the cardboard box factory, south of town, like the tint
of diesel fumes from the Foss tug as she putt-putts the Strait,
Anacortes-bound—the otter by the pier, pewter in morn’s
first glint—see her?—carbon dioxide exhalation rising, quicksilver,
to the chime of the halyard cleat, bleat of the buoy bell—the Bay
a vat of crimson; and East, backlit wings of doves.
Denise Calvetti Michaels, first published by Crosscurrents, 2012, the Washington Community College Humanities Association Literary Arts Journal