In verse: Maine places and people

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Produced by Dennis Camire

This week’s poem is by former Portland poet laureate, Marcia Brown, of Cape Elizabeth.

 

Fish

By Marcia Brown

 

End of summer languor has set in. Lowering

sun quickens the gilded evenings

we have loved. One last social

 

down the beach plants wine glasses in our hands.

We stand overlooking the chop, knocking back sorrow —

another one gone, everyone getting old. Why

 

can’t I remember the names of our host’s

grown children? Out the window, a pale moon —

milk glass platter in the paint-chipped cupboard.

 

Someone at the grille is telling an old joke badly.

Suddenly a break in the clouds — Look!

a voice sings out, at all the fish! And we look

 

where a thousand silver flashings

churn the waves into spangled nets of lights

cast from invisible boats. The moon pulls the tide

 

and the quicksilver fish cavort like midnight revelers

at an end of summer party who, still wearing

their gowns and finery, plunge drunkenly

 

into the pool, their ornaments dazzling

as fireworks. It’s the Grand Finale

lifting us up in its crescendos of falling light.

 

We don’t want it to end except we do

because it must end — everything

has to end. And like that: the fish vanish

 

into a black sea, leaving us dazzled

and consoled. On faint trails of smoke, we lean

into the homeward dark, into the burnt air of endings.

 

Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]

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