On the Docks, Cliffs, and Tidepools
Old men mend nets. Young men
die on boats, lose hands and legs
in the winches, hauling tuna in and over
their heads onto the deck, thirty an hour.
On the docks, the men hunch on boxes,
torn nets spread out like water.
Today the tuna fleet’s going out.
All bets are off in spring fog.
Wet and salty air
stains pavements and roofs.
Fish-weather, every man
pockets a clink of sea-silver,
to the hum of fishing reels.
A bewilder of mist pleases
the Japanese farmer,
whose hoe rises and falls
along a row of cliffside kale.
His eyes turn toward the misty light.
Clouds shade the work,
make the tourists stop
at his roadside stand
for the big vegetables.
At last a sparkling morning,
makes the harbor a silver tray
of antipasto hues,
and children dip fingers in foam,
touch starfish and anemones.
Rachel Dacus’s poetry collections are Femme au chapeau, Earth Lessons, the forthcoming God of Water and Air, the chapbook Another Circle of Delight, and the spoken word CD A God You Can Dance. Her work has appeared in Georgetown Review, Prairie Schooner, Seneca Review, Smartish Pace and many other print and online journals. It has been included in Radiant DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English (Wesleyan University Press) Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press), and other anthologies. Dacis has had prose in The Pedestal, and in Italy: A Love Story (Seal Press).