Atlantic Views: Two Poems

Hampton Beach, N.H., harbor, 1999

Hampton Beach, N.H., harbor, 1999


At noon

on the tan

strip by the

inlet a man

in yellow

digs clams,

filling a red

pail. Winter

gulls cry like

hurt dogs.

A pink boat

chugs under

a confusion

of wings.

Atlantic Pine

Chainsaws whine, rev, snarl, rip the birch and pine meat.

A deer’s heart sinks at the sight of us looking that way.

In Maine, it’s not buffalo grass but it makes me think it could be.

Icy foam on the tide bucking stones honeycombed with snail glue.

Rash of periwinkles and kelp welded to rocks by slick iron feet.

Birders, walkers, and lovers fan out amidst twisty gray brush.

Sun lances clouds like movie heaven over the woodsy marsh.

The garden strewn with small walnut helmets leaking black ink.

Loam that’s done its work hardens before the wild snow.

Water’s tricky to read, and there’s no craft for perspective.

Gulls atop sardine factory yell over sanders grinding the dock.

“I’ll use a shotgun to keep my land,” Johnny Bouchard says twice.

Amy in the trailer paints her young daughters’ nails red-sparkle.

The truck radio turned way up—Jean used an adze to dig post holes.

Wind in the pines rumbled like a ten-wheeler on bumpy Otis Road.

Cherryfield, Machias, Cutler, Lubec, and Calais said like “callous.”

Naval Listening Station strung out like a giant Erector Set hearing-aid.

Guy driving says Passamaquoddy chiefs want half the state back.

Old couple down to the lake fired up a new high-horsepower outboard.

The sleet on sticks and dry leaves makes a noise: sizzling steak.