428 Readings

Green Light at the End of the Dock

 Green Light at the End of the Dock

In the 70’s “green” meant only its own
color, nights so black we looked more
dutifully at the stars and maybe, just

maybe, understood one another. Now
we hunger for what we feed upon:
shrimp boats, a pastel pink schooner

Cpt. Pete says stinks of Savannah
brothel, leopard-print sofa, heavy
velvet drapes. Hung in my father’s

engine room: an Injun foregrounded
on landlocked landscapes, framed in
gold as if gold enriched the subject

matter, never thinking he’d sail
the Inter-coastal Waterway south
to Florida, north to Maine in a trawler

hitched to an old man’s star. Here: land
of the enemy, Redcoats, Yankees
camped on islands later home to oyster

canneries. And near this place Lowell’s
Colonel Shaw with his black men fell
into a POOF! of sand. Look how far

we’ve come! There’s a sushi place,
soft shell crab dipped in ponzu—no
need for nets and buckets: my brother’s

M.O. Capt. Pete, who sails big boats
and polishes them for folks, comes
to dinner in a white cable-knit sweater,

whispers about playing half-back
for Clemson (some school or other)
and his stint in Lebanon where from

his window he could look down
at the Golden Lamb. Once, General
Washington himself spent a night or two

and at dinner, it’s said, devoured
the most tender shank in history. It’s true.
Posted 11/15/09
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