By Henry Gould
There were scruffy local prophets
just beyond cannon-range
in every hamlet. Door-Hinge
Guillem, say, in Lebanon, OH — gets
no respect — or Josh the Carpenter,
for example, out on a limb
in Galilee, RI. Him
they tend to snub, until winter
cracks the mast off the yacht, &
the tub starts to founder
petrified in flounder-
nets (Ocean’s cold reprimand).
Time gets old, echoes grow faint;
the statue in the park
steps into evening dark,
amnesia puts on war-paint.
Your icon, buried in the garden
sank like a thousand ships
into the grass. Those lips
still graze my ear, sheep-warden —
whispering forgotten words
out of a lichen-book.
Words of the sea. Look,
their wave-trace in the woods —
a cedar replica. Her milky kingdom
was a salt-spray splinter,
Noah’s rudder-stump — her
shuddering Shaker-wheel spelled freedom.