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Nicholas Johnson

Photo by George Kunze


Nicholas Johnson

At the End

of this Eastern course, on deck observing
the gulls reel in the old dilemma, the tarpaulin
chaffed to a shine. Through the wheel the pull of
the sea is evident as separate vignettes appear
out of cigarette smoke. How tempting to drown
in such perceptions as you reconstruct shadow and sun
to a daze among polite trees somewhere on shore.
Coming home, it is clear the real tragedy is
dreams die too easily and the difficult country
reached via the grey, ice-bound river
can never be subdued. No, there are no Roman
roads here, but on the roads by the Seaport
you can feel the warm pavement give way
under your feet, giving you a sense of your own weight
and how easy it is to make an impression. Though hungry,
the longer you go without, the less you feel like it.
So we let them sleep in the lifeboat and do not
wake them for the prize of adoration, but simply continue
all the malicious lullabyes of the fair autistic weather
and those conspiracies of the tides that let you think
you can keep the course once set, that
you will not sink or rise.

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