Frail Boat (Written August 25)

Frail Boat

 

It was probably the hammering of the temples,

Which became more and more pronounced

As we came within sight of the island.

 

The sun was directly overhead and the glare

Was unusually intense. It was like waking

From a dream. I would never have believed

 

That such a frail boat, packed to overflowing

With runaways, could weather such a sea.

The land rose out of the water like a huge loaf

 

Of petrified bread. On the wharf a crowd

Had gathered to greet us as we inched our way

Into harbor. Everything was larger than life.

 

A girl, perhaps twelve, perhaps fourteen,

Standing at the edge of the wharf, not cheering

Or calling out like the others, looked at me.

 

She had reddish gold hair, and features

As grave and austere as a caryatid.

What we were running from no longer

 

Mattered, in the closeness of the embrace

We received. I felt what the parched earth

Must feel after a sudden and furious downpour.

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