Perhaps it was when he first felt his shoulders
roll an oar, or when he pulled the thick boots on.
Perhaps it was when he saw the curved thin rod
of the moon angle into his father’s face and hook
I saw her, pegging out her web
thin as a pressed flower in the bleaching light.
From the bushes a few small insects
clicked like opening seed-pods. I knew some
Through the end of an old Coke bottle he tracks
the flight of a petrel, until it is tattered by
sea-wind and another blurred mintage of the sun.
Along the pier, he hears the men with their
I have never been bumped in a saddle as a horse springs
from one diagonal to another,
a two-beat gait, light and balanced,
as the four-beats per stride become the hair-blowing,
Before the sea stops a long mile out
I hear the blades of fishermen scotching the rocks
and their reels beginning to grind like bicycle gears.
The sun stamps his shadow on the wall
and he’s left one wheel of his bicycle
spinning. It is dusk, there are a few minutes
I’ve had my nose in the ring since I was nine.
I learned those cubes fast: how to play a blind
bargain; how to empty a die from my palm
and beguile by turns loaded with prayers –
I feel a sharpness under the surface like tin-tacks,
Having come down to their soft mud among smells
Where most would retch. They sift broken bits,
Tuck into their mud; the bay has the sound
I will use the sound of wind and the splash
of the cormorant diving and the music
any boatman will hear in the running threads
as they sing about leaving for the Islands.