Alfred Stieglitz leaves a pear in a pin of light. Leaves it there
watched by a lens that he leaves there too—wide open like when
a child pads blind back to bed. Old photo, the image blurs like windy linen.
Blurs like bleached linen at night in porch light. The pear in the pin wilts
and puffs through an hour’s pivot on the next; of course, perhaps,
the lens is knocked by the hip of Alfred Stieglitz.
And so are you in a pin of light. Breath blurs you in a
waiting lens, or bumped by the hip of Alfred Stieglitz.
You are wilting; everybody says so. You hear them laughing
outside the blackened glass. The longer he leaves you,
the brighter you are and less so are you.
And the pin wanders with the sun. Dawns across a wooden table
and sets orangely on the sill. This, too, blurs you.
You cannot sit still enough to hold form.
Like a pear, like when the white firmament is lost in the waters
Then found again, browned, in the drought. You have
no true edge. The space you take is fuzz. You are
no more than rock, than pebble, than sand, than ocean.
You take space like bread and water. Like stale bread in water.
You took up more room yesterday.
Alfred Stieglitz will come back soon. He’s an old man;
he’s ready for breakfast. He must close the lens or the
dark will be lost in the white. He must take down the canvas
and let in the light.
A ferry ticket never expires. It may wrinkle
in a wallet, but it doesn’t expire. One ticket, one ride.
A frayed stub holds to its serration. This ferry will take you
over foam or frozen water. A ticket meant for the outside ride.
No one stays too long on the island. No one doesn’t travel
round trip. It’s like socks. The swing has to swing back.
Or slow down. Or get caught.
Go ahead now. Scale a tar scaffold. Ascend the elbow
of this dock’s grip. Duck inside the throat.
Hot potato pieces float. Sandy clams sink
through oil and cream. Seats fill quick with pretty ladies
and thick dogs. You might wretch at the sterile mold.
Grip a dirty handle. Wait for some semblance of calm.
Fight the wind or the weight. Cleave the door from its seal.
This kind of sun gives a ferry its white. Air carries its flavor.
Metal holds its chill. The sun makes it all white.
Wind loses your chowder before you can. The horn
Always startles you. The ferry will go. You will all go.
The line of the island will rise like ink into letters.
Recognize crumpling pages of what once lay flat.
Who cuts a round trip sharp? Who split this ticket?
How did you get this slip? At this dock, a ferry ticket
never expires. That’s why we on the land buy in pairs.
Makes you sweat. Sticks to you under jackets.
Sticks hair to neck and shirt to back.
When you feel your skin shining in the darkness, that’s what this air can do.
These days leave you begging for rain.
Fogs of darkness pull at streetlights, not blending
Like when milk in black coffee spins, like when seagulls swell in storming wind.
In the end, that’s how we lived. He didn’t like coffee,
but always watched me pour the milk. Watched the little galaxy
but never tasted the brownish bitter. These days leave you
Waiting for the sky to break. When the breath in your nose
Enters and exits the same warmth, not like winter.
Winters, air changes inside you. In winter,
You spin the chill in your gut until it comes out heavy.
These days keep things quiet.