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For a friend flying to LA
for a sudden funeral

crossing boston harbor, a metallic gray september autumn evening

flies west to Los Angeles. america is soul harried, has a long drive home:

ferries, planes, shuttles, taxis, airport limousines, motorcycles, commuter trains, metroliners pass through backyards of tenements, clothes hanging off balconies themselves hanging off dilapidated facades, like lives suspended by threads of nails.


out here, islands and tankers idle by wharves of shipping containers,

stacked like caskets, piled high in rows, deep canyons of gain

and loss, waiting their turn to leave a laden port. when sudden

confluence falls, it’s like this feather smashing on my shoulder tonight,

like a violent accident. i don’t believe in signs.


but still i fiddle with the digital keys as quill, as if i could transcribe

Genesis with these pixels of white and black, vanes of air and dirt

in a saltwater beginning, as if it could fly to a haven, as if i could mark

up god’s will and set it down, as crooked as cormorants grazing over

Atlantic fathoms, settling on outcroppings in a low tide.


in for the night, flocked in a common rest—black, shadowy, silent—

gathered like a reception on a rocky home above water,

congregated by instinct to witness nothing particular, they wait,

stiff spines rooted in their being, as if they can not be

cut short or dislodged in a wind of shrouded twilight.

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