Tuesday Poem

Kettle Island

the round orange
sun is about to dissolve
on the tongue of misery

island like the thin body
of god's son smoke black
stacks from salem power

plant ruin the brown
horizon i can smell the
salt hear the foghorn

my father walks on tired
legs we talk about red
sox politics mostly

i listen he is an old bigot
& i love him but the hard drinking
of our lives has left narrow

streets for forgiveness we
can only stare back at time
like two men suddenly alone

in the kitchen over
beers after ma's funeral
we got closer i was nine years
sober he wasn't truth

is i was angry & when i wrote
it down it hurt him
there's an eroded place

a beat down causeway
where cows used to walk
to kettle island now water

rushes over it i touch my father's
arm & we walk in small
silences to the coast

by Jim Bell
from Crossing the Bar
Slate Roof: a Publishing Collaborative, 2005