NOVA SCOTIA VESPERS
Already I’ve forgotten
how to pray.
Nose full of dust and salt,
ears full of silence,
The sea is grey crayon lines on the sky.
Yesterday when I was looking, a right whale
leapt all out of the water,
a plume of foam
with dolphins dancing high around.
I have eaten too many fish
drunk too much wine
watched too many hours in the sun
Breaking out of deep sea fog
in moist full moonlight
buoys rocking bells
We’re all coming ashore.
Who of all these passengers
gets to make love tonight?
Lean brown lovers kiss on the deck
their smooth hair blows together.
A fat grey man and his shabby wife
eat potato chips in the snack bar,
their feet touch under the table.
When he brings her coffee she smiles,
with one rough finger strokes his hand.
We just returned from a trip to Nova Scotia. I wrote these poems in 1998, and here they are, in honor of that trip.