Moira Linehan: “Late in the Late Years”


Driftwood, Winslow Homer, 1909

It’s about time. The years, now late and there’s all

that still eludes him. Before him, beneath him

the roll of the ocean, again rising up

out of its bed, a yawn from fathomless depths.

Pulled out of bed this morning, he went straight

to his studio. Below, a water-logged tree trunk

lies wedged into the rocky cove. Last evening

it was not there. Its girth, wider than the man

in rain gear who stands over it, a thin rope

looped a few times over his left shoulder

and under his arm. Beyond, the ocean

again at its moment of filling and rising.

It’s 1909, the year before the man

at his easel dies. For now, between his eye

and brush, all that is yet beyond him.

Moira Linehan is the author of two collections of poetry published by Southern Illinois University Press: If No Moon and Incarnate Grace. Her third collection, Toward, was published by Slant Books in 2020. Dos Madres Press will bring out her fourth collection, & Company.

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