This morning I received an email inviting me to read one of my poems (entitled West, toward Friday Harbor) Wednesday evening at the beginning of this week's City Council meeting on the island. I'm lucky to be one of the many poets selected to have their poems printed and posted in store windows this month (in honor of Poetry Month) (one of the benefits of living in a small community); and delighted to be chosen to read the poem aloud.
This year's theme (selected, I suspect, because our community -- and especially the city government -- has been rather publicly dysfunctional in recent months) is transformation; I thought I'd share the poem with you and include a picture, since the phenomenon described in the poem is not a particularly rare one but perhaps hard to visualize if you haven't been a regular ferry rider. You'll just have to imagine yourself at the back end of the boat (which looks exactly like the front end) with that last bit of light pouring through onto the car deck...
West, toward Friday Harbor
The air is chill, but I sit steaming in my car,
cheeks burning from a recent argument,
rehearsing all I might have said,
when the ferry turns -- west, toward Friday Harbor --
and in a farewell burst of light
a patch of sun streams through the clouds,
all colors joined to carve a bright white path across the sea.
Reflections sparkle, bathing the arch above,
and presence pours over worn gray metal
like water over a baby's head.
Awash in light, we chuckle together -- ferry and water,
baby and I -- reveling in the radiance.
Pulse slows, and temper fades as colors drift apart and dim,
preparing for their nightly spin into darkness.
Twilight hangs her orange wash --one last brief flare --
upon the line that splits the sea from sky,
then drops from view as rain begins again,
and on that final glide into the slip
flourescent lights blaze forth, announcements blare,
and spirits rise like engines, re-ignited, roaring into life.
As cars pour off onto the dock,
all final residue of anger’s wiped away;
windshield stroked clean, and then again, and then again.