Only a Boat
You take off your shoes.
Wiggle your feet in the sand,
warm already in the early morning sun.
It’s going to be a hot one.
But you have time to walk,
comfortable along the edge of tides.
To sit on the old boat
that is exactly where it was this time last year,
no evidence it has moved.
Its hull is scratched and pockmarked.
Your hand brushes it carefully.
You have experience in boats
and broken things and you caress the hull
seeking holes or cracks, and there are none.
and you wonder why it has not moved in all this time,
what combination of neglect or story has left it
here, still for seasons of tides. You are tempted
to drag it across the sand to the sea.
There are oars. You could do it.
You are strong enough.
But you do not. Its old beauty cries to you,
remembering times when you too were left
at the shore too long, trusted to be ready
when needed, but never before. Never after.
You remember the yearning as you waited
and then laugh at yourself.
It is only a boat after all.
About this poem
About the boat, which exists in Provincetown, Mass. About periods in my life. Sometimes I assign too much humanness to things. But it makes good poetry.