by Jeffrey Jullich
Bent women pummel mounds,
Heaps of rag belted with wire brooms.
Here and there patches along the piers
Escape the influential shadow
The colossal frigate casts,
Their routine chores unaffected by a new earth.
The boat is the only mountain in sight.
The ships are pinned against the shifting surface
Under the red flags,
Stapled firm on the plum.
The galleons haven't quit harbor.
Loading docks stiffen in the swelter.
Weather doubles the ballast.
They wait on official orders,
Sealed, hand-delivered by a local boy
Who swigs a ladle, catches his breath in gulps,
The boy's urgent face sliced out of porphyry.
At sea, the boy who remained ashore
Points from the helm, blanched,
Showing us medusas.
The untimely arrival
Of a prim visionary, duded in silks,
Happens a week before the winds,
Talking his fixated globes to deckhands,
His rich southern accent
A mesh of froth on thin lips.
First published in Pavement, 1987
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