Boat of Lights
Iíve been out walking at night and low tide,
considering the beach complicated with driftwood,
how the sea loosens its grip
on a shore. But more than that
Iíve been considering the book
the windís been proposing to write in me.
On one page the languid nod
of cattails in the marsh answers yes.
And yes and yes to anyoneís ultimate question.
On another, over the dry littoral
zephyrs tow their sheer lace curtains of sand.
Veiling me and unveiling me again.
At the bend in the boardwalk, lunch and low tide,
Iíve felt the barometer falling,
heard a sigh in the absence of gulls.
Man before science, our original manó
suppose he lay down naked on the face
of the beach. The roiling fullness of cloudbank
plowing in from the east could have been anything
his heart described: anathema, benediction,
justice, grace. Iím inclined to believe it was,
inclined to replace him down there on my back
in prayer, awaiting rainís ministrations,
those thousand wet hands of the rain.
And tonight out again in the wind and low tide,
Iíve brought the son I want to conceive
to walk alongside me.
He knows the names of the stars and their myths
because he is only this moment electing them.
The North Star after his mother,
her luminous gown. A satellite: the boat of lights
that carries him to her. And when I ask him
if Iím there, he laughs. Fragile colors of the sky,
fogbow dawn, thunderclapsóI want to refuse
for a moment the drive to explain them.
Iíd like first to ask my child what they mean.
George David Clark
is the waiter with a book in his pocket at the Olive Garden in Little Rock.
He recieved his BA from Union University, and this fall he will begin an MFA at UVA in Charlottesville. His work is
currently also represented on the web at Southern Gothic Online.