This is where I live. This is the house
in which I, we, once—this
is the small square window that works
as a porthole to make the pantry a boat,
the leaves water, the lawn chair a skiff.
Some late shadows are rowers in breeze.
Some toys are anchors.
The phrase all this fall fills the white sail.
I close the pantry door and make the cabin tight.
And though there is no door, I can, by turning
off the light, make one. And green waves, and breeze,
and the neighbor’s red house through trees
be the phrase red sky at dawn, sailors be warned,
and the garbage can, kicked, go darker still
where rust settled in like an algae bloom,
blood tide or some other hunger satisfied.
If I stick my arm out, I’m touching rolled oats,
jars of lentils, scales divided from their fish, and
all this fall, the porthole wide open, the yard oceanic,
the red sky at night I haven’t been
sailor enough to delight in.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.