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Tug Docked at Curacao
The harbor water celebrates
the tugboat in garish reds and neon yellows
that the tugboat has forgotten
it wears. The tugboat, a modest boat,
thinks the harbor is celebrating
the departure (or arrival?) of the bridge.
"Silly boat," murmurs the water,
"It isn't where you've been or where
you're going. The sun and I love you
for what you are. You have soul.
You have a ribbon of gold about
your gleaming white cabin. You have
reds and blues and violets. Ah!
You are ours!" The tug says nothing,
like a wall flower asked to dance,
a little queasy as the sun sways
in borrowed finery, embarrassed
by the water's crush, unwilling
to offend. In the background,
faintly heard over the frolic
of sun and sea, a brick warehouse
tries, unsuccessfully, to remind
the sea and sun that this is a human place
with a name, not a phantasmagoria
of colors unknown to men or tugboats.
(Unfortunately, the painting that accompanied this poem was overpainted.)
October 5, 2002