Shi Shi

as the night waves crest
in the floodtides,
faint bands of light roll
and echo into the darkness
like whales.

A light rain
falls back over the earth,
and there is no moon.

I’m not, I don’t think, one
who’s wed to the sea, but
I’m taken and ceaselessly called
to this place as to no other.

The curve of shoreline
washed smooth as a breast,
the dark impenetrable wood.

A candle
flickers in the cabin window
where my tea grows cold, and woodsmoke
melds with the night.

Tomorrow or the next day
is Christmas,
and in a month’s time, the deep
unfathomed thoughts of the whales
will turn north,
bringing them here by March.

And once again
the patchwork canoes
of the heart will voyage
out to them,

and the songs sung
in a different tongue,

as always.

From Cloud Studies: Twenty Poems from Pawtracks, by Tim McNulty, © 2008, Empty Bowl, Port Townsend