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On First Looking Into Bishop’s Binoculars


ISSUE:  Fall 2016

What realms of gold did they travel,
these old field glasses? Her last pair,
focused beyond the tame sea-stacks 
of glass and bottle, they’d have caught––
from her Boston Harbor condo–– 
birds in maneuvers, breaches of whales.

Too far away for her optics to resolve, 
across that bay would have stood whoever I was 
forty years ago. Love, you drove us 
till the road reached water. At the end of the Earth, 
we took an apartment too small for two. 
At the one picture window, a gull––

but which? She would have known. 
Cockle in claw, into a stiffened breeze it faced. 
Pushed back as much as lifted, it dropped the meal,
then drifted angelically back to Earth.
Oh, to crack the heart-shell,
tear a gobbet loose and swallow it.

The breakers tore at their rags.
The foghorn sobbed, Don’t look, don’t look.

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