St. John’s Point
by Fred Marchant
After supper, we pedaled to a sandstone cove,
watched the tide-pool dramas, the opal periwinkles,
waving sea lettuce, hermit crabs nibbling.
We wondered together what it might mean to depend
on the flat, warmed rocks slipping under the tide.
When we started back, it was pitch black everywhere,
and I asked if you’d ever heard of night vision,
how the iris will stretch to gather in ambient
light from stars, moon, and the distant city.
But there was none or little that night.
There was internment in the North, and imaginary
gunmen hiding in the ditches. A fine gravel
on the road made the wheels slip. On our faces
we could feel moisture from the ocean, hear
the thump of surf, and all the little mechanical
sounds of gear-teeth, sprockets, oily axles,
the squeak of saddle springs when we hit the ruts,
the metal of handlebars that sometimes touched.
Copyright © 2000 by Fred Marchant.
From Full Moon Boat, Graywolf Press.