Today's poem is by Joseph Millar


It's February in North Carolina
the day before Valentine's Day
and we listen to the elegant waves
quiet and monstrous, grinding away

at the sand's fractured layers
of feldspar and quartz, the dunes'
dark gray cactus and pampas grass,

the incoming tide we walk beside
drinking take-out coffee
stooping down every now and then
to pick up a shell or a smooth piece of glass

and talking about an old friend
now sailing a far western ocean
who doesn't want to come back to land

more afraid of contentment
and the slow trances of age
than the elements of the deep
maybe thinking it would be no great outrage
to die on the water, like falling asleep—

tired like the rest of us
and not willing to admit it:
even the wars of baseball
even love's politics
even the slab-sided salmon
hauled up for years on his deck—

sand maybe dreaming like Coleridge
of endlessly rocking in the blue void
like a floating abandoned wreck.

I make us turn back when we reach the pier
weary of walking, wanting to lie down,
our footprints already disappearing
under the shrouds of foam.

One of the things I like about you
is the way you can leave things alone

with your hat pulled low over your hairv
and your face partly hidden below
stepping pigeon-toed next to me
watching the distant whitecaps flare

and the strong wings of sea birds
relentlessly beating high in the air.

Copyright © 2014 Joseph Millar All rights reserved
from New Letters
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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