Rarely comforting and mostly at night
as no one’s listening, the birds are still,
jasmine abloom and those invitations
daring what little there is of sleep.
It was an August, though, too cool for jasmine,
blossoms more a scented memory
than some provocation lingering into fall.
Bitter or not, the dark straddles a fear of
small closings, small thoughts hardly sustaining
much beyond the sound of pencil scratching paper.
These, of course, just notions bereft of scented
blossoming and foggy mornings after
such dark nights. Nowhere left to go but
tease those fresh shoulders with a taste of winter.
And then at dawn the river grows wide
and shallower with few trees and bushes,
and in the faint light a salty odor.
When was he last here, why such low water,
as the boat drifts toward the horizon.
Must have been almost summer when the current
first rushed him out under the broad sky’s
dazzle and the wheeling birds. Now quite dim
as dawn feels suspended as the hope of
ever seeing that face, those eyes again.
He strokes a few more times and waits for what
is the noise of surf somewhere in the
weathered light. He strokes again as the sun must
be edging nearer the end of his song.
© Paul Vangelisti