That we sag with many weights
and buoy ourselves with the word—
although the word fails its captain
many a time and to/for no avail—
we of the lesser rank do toil:
take a town like Agnes
with its fine people and subpar soil,
its metal gate and burnt red brick
with a clutch of blue-gray lichen spin.
All night a mayor’s words echoed in my head
and wanting this language myself
and others much like me
found the outskirts of Agnes
and I swear our clapping came like rain.
There were stairs past heavy doors
on shrill hinges and finally a window
looking out over a town,
still Agnes, perhaps, all but lights
now and our eyes tracking out to lights’ end
where water lays a black tarp—
where captains look east and want,
out of the blue, their little red-red.
Copyright © 2015 Michael Morse
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.