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Man in Small Boat, Curacao
This rower had better go ashore quickly,
for the sea turns electric green with jealousy,
eddying fitfully, glazing over: jealous
of the way light caresses the dark-grained man
and especially his shirt, as dappled
as the sea itself, as multihued, as alive.
Joseph's coat of many colors
stirred his own brothers to spiteful acts.
The light loves this man too well.
But even as I watch, I see the light
making it up to the sea, stroking it,
"Good sea, there's a good sea!
You're my favorite, you know that!"
Look how light lolls, puddling
in blue curlicues about the dripping oar,
yes, light, like a master with two pets,
sees jealousy brewing and deals with it,
impartial, but giving most attention
to the sea, which is as skittish
as a cat, and as demanding:
"Don't mind his shirt," says the light--
"Nothing is as graceful as you!"
(Is this why the alchemy of light on waves
gives us such pleasure: We hope
the sea will spare our small dull bodies?)
October 6, 2002