Sunday, January 10, 2016


At Opihikao

Down the red road, out past Puako
Where the road bends hard to the left
Rodney aimed our truck like a bullet sent
Out of some old brush with violence

The sea to our left and the flashing light
As the sun bore holes through mesquite;
In a silence as sweet as a cigarette
And a breeze that forgave the heat

Til at last we came to the crumbling church
And the tower painted white
The tombstones, grave, around us gathered
To bring some news of life

But we had little of life to give,
And less of news to say
So we clutched our nets and pardoned past
To where the black rocks gave way

We fished all day til even came
And the pup lolled in the shade
Then we slung our catch through a twilight rain
Back to where the truck nosed the glade

Years from there and miles more
I stand on the shore and wait
For the plovers to come with a goodly word
Hope's proof my fears betray

But silence is all that yesterday told
And all that I heard today
I call to Rodney across the water,
Nothing, returns on the spray

So I find myself asking, out past the loss
Past the tumbled-down church and the glade
If an error can fix before it begins,
And a lifetime fit in a day

Can one perfect hour absolve us all,
And mercy, mercy hold sway?

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