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The Milky Way & Kayaker at Lowe’s Wharf

A pair of poems by Stuart Gunter

 

The Milky Way

Cold night: I bring in wood from the shed.
In the sky I see the crisp stars, quilted
in constellations. Orion’s there, the head

somewhere above that unmistakable belt.
The Milky Way blends in with night’s river
while I think, “How small I am–I could melt

into the earth, and only the cat would know.”
Somewhere up there, Atlas bears the earth,
while I look up, dumbfounded. Were Atlas no

father, (but oh, was he that), could he hold
the unbearable mass, heaven and earth
weighing on his daughters, who could fold

into their own light? The Pleiades shine down on
me as I mount the stairs, wood in hand: cold, gone.

 

Kayaker at Lowe’s Wharf

For JJ Cromer & Dinah Gray

I sit on the pier jutting out into
the Chesapeake Bay drinking
coffee, talking with friends.
Three flocks of geese fly toward

the sedge grass on the point of the island.
Their black bodies look like holes
moving across the sky, tearing windows
into the dark universe behind.

On great blue wings, a heron lofts
over the pines. The sound of paddles
breaking the water. The kayaker casts
a line into the bay, secures the pole behind
him in a white milk crate.

He’s trolling, I say. Two poles stick out
like radio antenna, trailing their lines
with baited hooks. I’d hate to make
my living doing this, he says under
his sun visor, leaning into the paddle

heading across the water. Under the green
a jellyfish floats in the cool shadows
and a crab wheels toward the pier, ready
to lift the apron. The man in the boat
disappears into the morning light.

 

Stuart Gunter is working toward a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and lives in Schuyler, Virginia. He likes to paddle the Rockfish River and play drums in obscure rock bands.

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