APRIL IN THE BOATYARD
April in the boatyard breaks raw and restless;
Scudding clouds spill a chill rain,
Underfoot, snowmelt soaks the frosty gravel.
In the shore-side scrub, nesting geese
Honk in anger, woodchucks bark and scramble.
April in the boatyard
Stoic jackstands, erect as sentinels,
Shoulder hulls crusty with barnacles.
Sailboats squat on leaden keels
Awaiting sander, paint and power-drills
Their proof against the years.
April in the boatyard I’m hauling batteries,
Fixing wires 'til my boat’s nervous system fires,
Electronics quicken.. She blinks with life.
This year, like every year,
I wash and buff and pamper,
Caress my girl’s lines, smooth her wrinkles,
Applying rouge that keeps the old flame
But, this is my 70th April..
Strong muscles have gone stringy,
Eyes unsharp. Bones and joints rebel
At rubbing, polishing, pampering.
Beyond the line of scrawny trees
I see the tide is running out.
On the black and barren flat
Fractured ribs of scuttled boats
Poke through the glistening mud...
Skeletal fingers from the grave
Of derelict, forgotten hulks.
I count the years with melancholy,
but, not yet, not yet, not this boat.
Come the flood, and once again
My pretty sloop will float.
Pulled by wind and straining sails
She will carry me
For one more year at least
Across the broad, eternal sea.