Memorial Day

At home we set out pink petunias,
begonia tubers with slender shoots
staked to bear the blooms,
waiting till danger of frost has gone by.

But here summer is marked otherwise.
Trucks piled with traps clatter down
the rough dirt track to the beach,,
and unload onto the floats.

Just after dawn the boats begin their work,
pulling out into the glassy waters,
black against the sunís wide shining band
that pours across the cove.

From the porch the boats look like childrenís toys,
the pile of gaily striped buoys,
pink, blue, green, all crayon vivid
and all different.

Circling, the boats lay down their burden.
The wire cages lined up on the gunwale
slip over the side one by one
on the long line, a buoy at either end.

The fishermen know the colors
and lay the lobster traps carefully;
each spot is claimed by someone
local and acknowledged.

A second load is taken from the beach
and unloaded into the smooth water.
Everywhere the cove blooms
in primary colors.


Lari Smith