Going Home

She leaned on the ferry railing,
watching the eider ducks bob and dip
in the wake spreading behind the boat.

The toy boat, striped red and white,
slid across the smooth surface
coming into the quiet cove.

The mirrored islands lay in the glassy
grey November water, the dense woods
and sparse houses doubled, up and down.

The distant entering river
molten and motionless, stretched
to the far clouded sky.

Tied-up dinghies huddled against the cold
granite blocks of the dock, out of the way
of the island ferry coming home.

The rusting pickup waited,
its radio singing a pop song to the gulls
whose raucous voices sang the chorus.

The old woman gathered her mainland shopping
and climbed up the dock gangway,
(her joints sending sharp messages to her).

She hauled herself into the neighbor’s truck.
It followed the dirt road around the small cove
and up the hill to her frame house.

She thanked the fisherman, went in
to the empty, quiet rooms, the sea and sky
spread beyond the small windows

Soon she would go down the road
to bring her cat back from
his weekend home.

Her sons had fled the hard life,
the poor prospects.
But she would stay here,

everything would go on,
no matter what.

Lari Smith