a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Blessing the Fishing Fleet
You might have noticed
many things that May morning.
Light rain. Kids fumbling,
grumbling over life jackets
the captain’s dirty Pirates’ cap,
how he watches the widow’s walk
down the pier, hesitating to step up
on his deck, lilacs on her arms.
How we shift our bright baskets, making room
for orange azaleas, rhododendrons,
store-bought red carnations,
pink camellias, daffodils and dogwoods.
This may not have been the best day for this–
showers now buckling down
but it is the way we remember
waves criss-crossing Tillamook Bay.
Churning smell of diesel. Seagulls squawking.
Outside the harbor buoys the captain slows
the motors inside the bar to open ocean.
Our small village drops branches overboard
one bud at a time to an overcast sea
offerings to bless this season’s fleet
and the fishing.
Names are read
to honor the dead
fishermen lost at sea.
A baby squalls.
The captain tracks where currents seize
blossom floats and crab pot buoys.
I see the widow’s lilacs linger, drift.
She whispers her one dear name
leaning out to fathoms, conjuring him
in gray-blue shadow spray
the churning purple blooms in her wake
of yesterday’s retreating sea.
So the names are said.
Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet. Recent publications include Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place; Flycatcher: A Journal of the Native Imagination; Muddy River Poetry Review, VoiceCatcher and others. Her work is included in anthologies by Western Press Books (Manifest West), Red Claw Press (Seek It: Writers and Artists Do Sleep) and Dos Gatos Press (Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku and Haiga). She has literature degrees from Stanford University (BA) and Yale University (MAT). She gardens, runs, practices tai chi and dances with a hula hoop.