Poems Left in Airports #6

THOUGHTS WHILE SITTING ALONG THE LOWER POTOMAC

Wind and waves hold power here,
resolute action is tidal.
Fish and crabs know nothing
about the left and right sides of aisles;
partisanship exists only with regard to bait.

Rivers and creeks are the corridors
in which history is made;
measured in bushels, and in the size
of jimmies, rockfish, and blues,
and the ones that got away.

The only monuments here
are stacks of crabpots and
piles of oyster shells;
an old deadrise sunk in a creek.
Marble is reserved for the graves
of watermen when they no longer
go out in boats at dawn.

There is tranquility here—
found on the river at dawn;
seen as an eagle circles out over the water;
felt when easing a hook out of the mouth
of a fish too small to keep.

We may think all that is important
lies upriver, along grand avenues,
in meeting rooms and marbled halls,
but everything flows in this direction;
the lower pulls down the higher,
the way overcomes from below.

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