A whole grove of masts wavers overhead 
        as all the harbor boats already berthed 

for night, dockside lines knotted to posts, 
        rise slightly and then settle back with each 

slow roll of sea-swell. Even those few 
        fishermen still lingering along the open 

throat of the bay float closer to shore. 
        Patiently awaiting the promised approach 

of an evening storm, only a lone sailboat 
        resists the urge to return, as a growing 

current of air gathers in its fully unfurled 
        panels.  When we near the pier, we see 

where a spread webbing of mesh strips 
        has been placed beside the waterfront, gill 

nets draped over poles and drying under 
        this low, late-day sun seemingly weary 

after angling across another arc of sky. 
        We thread our way through the sprawl 

of gear and bait baskets that now lie 
        scattered on the dock in clumps like little 

islands of debris.  The sorting has begun: 
        barrels of bluefish, sea bass, flounder, 

and perch dot the deck.  Trash catch 
        tossed overboard, gulls glide above us, 

their wings tilted against a gusting wind, 
        the sheen of their feathers glistening 

and suddenly silken each time they turn 
        toward the horizon and dip into the sea. 

[ First appeared in Sycamore Review


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