Today's poem is by Philip White


All morning the empty boats in the cove
      drift on their lines with the tide's flow.
    I sit by the window at the chipboard table

writing what happens, letting go of all
      the falsehoods about death I've told.
    Outside, the door at the office groans open:

voices through the wall, women, men, speaking
      as if in tongues, in pure tone.
    Now laughter, the door again, tools clattering

down; hammer blows, clapboards being pried at,
      a ripsaw in spasms, shattering, abrupt.
    What if every day were like this, someone

building, someone tearing apart. What if
      under the white paint there were nothing
    but wood, held together by nails

and screws. Centuries would pass and no one
      would notice. The boats would ease and lift
    out in the blue cove thousands of times,

and over them, ceaselessly, the gulls
      would cry in their distant language,
    without pity and without anguish.

Copyright © 2003 Philip White All rights reserved
from The Southeast Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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