Dusk and the two of us again
on the porch swing, idling down
the day. The low sun burning out
but still with us, its full glow
like the lull between seasons
or the soft pearl of the oyster.
It is the moment when doves
light on dormant phone lines and boys
find love in fish nets and crab cages,
in the salty chorus of the wharf. We
can almost hear them, six blocks east,
the lobstermen bringing in the catch
and their daughters in braids telling secrets,
a cloister of curls and intentions, waiting
for fathers whose bones smell of fish
to carry them home. By habit
our arms touch as we listen to the cadence
of the first evening rain tapping to the west
near the cemetery and the eight-stool pub.
A girl coasts her bike down the street,
bells on her handlebars ringing. It is the hour
before women wash dishes
and men go out, before the gulls flock
toward Captain’s Calabash, the shore’s single light
for miles. And we give
with unthinned hearts, little knowing
how even if banked by the best words
and buoyed by honesty, love can fail.
Or maybe we do know
and unharbor ourselves anyway.