dock here


Fleda Brown
Say dock, dock: it’s just a hollow
of itself, the way the foot
echoes between wood and water,
the plank, plank of it
like piano keys, growing hollower
farther out under the stars.
Listen to the way dock’s closed in
by the tongue on one side, pushed out
at the far end toward the lake
with a duck-sound, quack-
sound, where they congregate
for crumbs. It’s even a tongue,
itself, saying nothing but
what you bump against it.
Or an arm, reaching out. Here
you’re willing to make yourself sociable,
declare yourself separate
from the trees. “Dock here,”
you offer. Here is a place
to stop. And it’s true. Indeed,
I have to stop at the end,
and think. The reason
for walking out here is
how the end goes blunt.
You feel your blood turn back
toward the heart, but
for an instant, you imagine,
it longs to keep moving out,
like Roadrunner at the edge of a cliff,
keeping on with nothing built
to hold him up. Turning back,
I carve a cul-de-sac in the air, which is a comfort, and a sadness.

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