Susan Wood

You’re walking through the woods toward Sepiessa Point,
you and the dog, late September, late afternoon, late light
leafing through its book of trees—pitch pine and beetlebung,
scrub oak, the understory all huckleberry like a good plot,
tangled, dark and bittersweet. You’re happy enough,
biding your time. Over there, by Tiah’s Cove,
some farmer staked his happiness. See,
even his fence extends a foot or two into the water
to keep his goats from drowning. From his high pole,
an osprey jumps feet first into the cove like a kid
jumping off the high board for the first time. And suddenly,
the trees fall off, the sand plain opens up and there it is,
Tisbury Great Pond, and beyond it,
the Atlantic, going who knows where, and the water
is an improbable blue, like the blue in the windows
at Chartres, a blue no one has ever been able
to reproduce, but here it is. You can barely see
what keeps them apart, the pond
and the ocean, but there it is in the distance,
a little strip of beach. And sometimes it wears away,
or someone digs it out, and the ocean
enters the pond at last. In the deep sand,
Cosmo the pug staggers like a happy drunk, charges
the water, eyes the merganser rasping
his old smoker’s croak. Every time, arriving here
is a surprise, like getting what you’ve always wanted
but never thought you’d have—the last piece
of peach pie, all the first editions of your favorite writer—
not to sell, just to keep—that longed-for kiss, someone
knowing, really knowing, just how you feel. Now
the sun is going down in flames like a ship
on fire, but slowly, listing a little to the left.
Don’t worry, everyone on board gets off.
That’s the best part. Everyone is saved.