THE ISLES

by Jnana Hodson

1

the cluster of eight small rugged islands
(or more, depending on the tide
and how one’s counting)
ten miles out from New Hampshire
and Maine

Appledore, Star, White, Smuttynose
among them – the landing at Gosport
ornithological laboratory, conference hotel
lighthouse and keeper’s housing

2

distinctly hot, hazy ashore
a threat of afternoon fogging
obstructing the islands

board the M/V Thomas Laighton, named
for Celia’s brother, HARBOR CRUISE & TOUR
and it’s twenty degrees cooler offshore
windy, nine-foot tide normal

far from anything, a kite flies, wagging a long tail
gulls flock a fishing boat
“whistlebones, cricket sticks”
a young woman sings

approaching the unfamiliar light of an afternoon squall

“everyone on the deck, down under – now!”

quickly enwrapped

in a darker fog, a gray luminescence
viewed from the inside
of a pearl
all passing in minutes

3

you could volunteer for the trip
to thin hop vines overrunning her garden

bring home rootlets
for a memorial planting

to stabilize and flavor
your own bottles

fermented in late fall and deep winter

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.

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