Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stop Motion

Seven canoes of seven
Pairs of teenagers chatting
Make their way around the bay
In ragged, paddling processions
Of awkward stares and poses,
All taking their time, then gone.
Dread, anticipation, blank--

Youth offers the afternoon
Its dank, fishy metaphors
Until a pileated
Woodpecker, tall as a hawk,
Mercifully interrupts
Conceits of adolescence
By alighting on driftwood

Pulled ashore by a cyclist
Who rode down to the boathouse
To see how his kayaks fared
Through the rains and high waters.
The woodpecker inspects logs,
Then struts up to a swimmer
Perched on one, stares at him, leaves.

"That was rare," says the cyclist.
"Are birds always that relaxed
Around you?" The swimmer lies
By shrugging his vague assent,
Then dives back in the water
Where everything familiar
Stays timeless until it's gone.

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