High Tide*

The black veined hands

of the old Trinidadian

glowing sunrise indigo

mapped the sea lanes

to Tortuga Bank and back

against the breeze.


As his fingers kneaded nets

he whispered to the surf --

hope is easy on the eyes at dawn

but heavy on the neck at noon.

The reef lies forty fathoms deep

between one's must and want.

It's a bloody lonesome tack

should the trade winds shut.

Daylight drags when love's lost

like an anchor in the sand.

No music breaks the doldrum sky

like the fish hawk's sultry cry.

You can only sail up heaven

what you give away.


Then like a discus throw

he sprayed a figure eight in air.

The arc of his cast

woke up the lagoon

and signaled that the universe

would spin another day.


*JOUVERT 5(2) (March 2001).