Skin Boat

This last day facing West,

muzzy-headed with autumn,

circadian clocks skewed,

we amble miles of Vendeen trails near Dunquin

and all along Slea Head, taking in viridian outlines

of five mounded Blaskets socked in and unreachable.

Streamlined gannets, dozens of them,

soar and plunge the towering skelligs

while Angelus bells toll an elongated noon Sanctus.


Spotting a beached row of upended curraghs,

their unkeeled carcasses tightening in the sun,

we fasten our hands tentatively across one of them

its hazel lath and wicker hull lashed diagonal,

canvas bias stitched and black with tar,

frame cobbled like ours from oddments and leavings,

woven and weighted against rock and barnacle:

fashioned from what we now know

is hard won in faithless times.



[Reprinted from Manzanita Quarterly. 1 st place poem, Poet’s Choice, Missouri Poets & Friends Contest, 2004 Annual Contest. 3 rd Honorable Mention, Montgomery Branch, National League of American Pen Women Contest, 2005. Currently a finalist in the 2006 Mattia Family Poetry Contest.]