From ‘starboard blue board’


lying in his rocking garvey one summer evening long ago, a boy watched how overhead a pair of young herring gulls flew together, arcing up, spinning as though on wingtip, cartwheeling in the air.

only seeing the gray birds did he realize he had been sleeping, how long he did not know. the sky beyond them was deep still blue, but then, they were in the sky, so the blue was not beyond them at all. he heard the water lapping and kissing the hull all around him, and he watched as moment by moment the two birds, young, tireless in their play over him, glowed more and more gold. every moment everything changed — the gulls’ gold deepened and the blue darkened and the water’s kisses kept on, ceaseless. he felt the weight of his body, its stillness and yet all the movement within, breath and blood and awareness. too many things were happening. he let it all go and watched the gulls.

only when the light was finally gone and it seemed he was alone did he sit up, get his notebook and the pen a yellow-haired girl had given him, and write these verses

see how evening sun
turns everything even gulls
graywinged and playing
over the still water gold
end of day no end at all

where the gulls had flown off to he did not know, or if they had at all. he still saw them, and wrote again

two gulls turned evening
gold as they gray play in flight
over the still bay
the setting sun takes her time
herself too saturated

as he wrote, he felt, the halves of the pen’s nib open like wings folded on a gull’s back, and the flow of the ink, its flight on the page, even in the darkness, in the stillness of the vast sky shared with the bay around him. he wrote yet again, not to hold something, but to let it go

in sunset flightdance
two fineformed gray gulls turn gold
night’s coming then day
again again and again
these gulls even gold still gulls

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