This poem is about staring out into the water in Lisbon with a dear friend around the time I first moved to the Continent a few years ago, wishing I could create more understanding through art.
Porto de Lisboa
The shoreline shunts contemporalis—
realist rocks rolling out to impressionist waves
before pointillist glints disintegrate into disjunct houses.
This is how the stories that can’t be passed on
get caught, snarled between their bearing minds and times, and beyond.
Buoyed away in bits from the farther shores of others’ hearts.
This is the port where artists work, in the not knowing
how to, with the, and then, although, perhaps.
What voice, which strokes, whose ship can carry care home to port?
The water points, laughs, holds; forgives, forgets, laps.
It is always, my love, the ship you tried to keep from open sea
that sails because it must, farther and freer than before—
carrying with it currency as well as cargo,
ready at last to spend the penny you have heard singing
all this time at the bottom of your own well,
but not yet flung up and tossed out to the world, to us, to me.