Pemaquid Beach, Maine September

Early evening, the quarter-mile crescent

of soft white sand,

gypsum left from a glacier,

looks over John’s Bay,

a last lobster boat chugging in,

and, far out, the Hardy boat

ferries tourists back, Monhegan to New Harbor.

The snack bar long closed,

the parking attendants have left the lot

and the last townie and tourist

have folded up blankets and gone.


Falling sun gold-plates the water.

Small waves, combers really,

ride almost silently in to shore.

Overhead the strident cries

of common gulls as they circle

and dive for porgies

who’ve come almost suicidally in

to the shallow water, followed

by bluefish who feed on them.

A lone fisherman casts

and pulls in the blues–a stack of them

grows on the sand beside him.


At the far end where a rocky outcropping reaches

out into the bay, I watch the one boy left

clamber across the rocks, testing his balance,

hunting for what?

On the bordering dunes,

dune grass is silent in the no wind

and beach roses have gone

to rose hips, big as golf balls.


But here where I stand on the shore,

the mechanical rake has come and gone leaving

a heap of bladder wrack and kelp.

A dozen sandpipers skitter

through the tangle,

staking claim to the sand flies

and small insects they find there,

while, just beyond, on a cliff,

above the rocks, last light ignites

the windows of the cottage on Fish Point

until that one house,

as if it is the last house in the world,

has caught on fire.