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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.


My father picked up flotsam
among the rocks,
dark, dank, wet.
Cigarette packages,
and together we sat on the stones
as he carved a little ship,
rigged it with foil sails.
His knife bright as a wand of silver,
light under a door,
the metallic glint of a cat’s eye,
a crescent moon.

I marveled at his hands,
his imagination,
the flash of his thoughts,
scraping, cutting, fastening.
A magician producing a dove,
a chain of colored silk,
from the nothing of his empty hands.
As if the air
covered invisible objects,
or they were covered
by the invisible paper of the air.

And when he completed his legerdemain,
he would put his creation
on the still surface of the water,
and we watched it drift
into the bay,
perched on the swells,
until it capsized in the waves.
Often he gave the ships to me,
and like birds that cower in the hand,
I felt their electricity,
wanting them for myself.

But his eyes showed me their freedom,
how the water needed them.
How a voyage beckoned
to take them from the shore,
and I would release them
between the stones,
or just beyond the edge of shelter,
and they would sail away,
taking my father and me with them.

Published inIndex of all Poems