Off the Ozarks' Tawny Shore

Pulling into port
of the embanked shoreline road
cutting through the sea
of gushing pines
rolling as waves in hardwood
over the ancient bodies of bedded stone,
humped curls suspended,
as I stand on deck at prow's rail.
Perhaps not hieroglyphics
but letters on knotty jetty wall
sprayed with waterfalls of dust
by eroding time, hypnotic
in its lull of deliciousness,
paralyzing in its ebb.
Pocket-knife chiselings
stream through vertical flotsam
as messages in a bottle
bobbing unnoticed
until reaching their destination.
Becalmed on the Dalian sea,
fixed between burnished scallops
inanimate to the droplets of birds
splashing into the silent sky,
mists of voyagers
debark among tawny shores.
Remember the sound of the many birds
penetrating the wake of their passage,
the skipping over ochre foam
to rest on a last green island?
Waiting for a breeze,
a good, strong wind to fill the sails
that will take us in.
Everything has been taken care of.
The broad knoll of the churchyard,
away in an inlet beyond the shore,
has felt our standing on its peeping brow
contemplating jetsam of earlier cruises
in its polished granite ripples
and mossy concrete wash.
Waiting for a breeze
to engage us in navigating
predictable crests of answering phones,
running errands,
dropping lifeboats
for the swamped and overwhelmed.





French Helmet
by Gary Simmons