V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




        Great South Bay, Fall 2002

All that glitters is the bay
in hazed-over afternoon sun.
The tide's in, Fire Island a thin
lifting of dark earth and sand
that crests and wavers 
on this fourth day of autumn. 

Fractured crab claws sprawl 
on the old pier's scoured planks, 
the shell of the living animal 
cracked open: a husk in two unequal 
halves, picked clean by the gull 
that stood near, content and silent. 

In this space, at the slashed edge 
of the continent, a late summer day 
swims back against relentless drift: 
seeds, small insects, rays of light, 
swept through blue September sky. 

They soared and glimmered 
like worlds burning out, 
their diminutive lights laser bursts,
at first, but swiftly softening. 

And I saw that that day, too, would fade 
toward night, that all sun-lit things 
would darken and contract: that beauty, 
and life itself, must vanish, though tightly, 
tightly, grasped.

© by Charles Fishman


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