The Sea Watchers

Mark DeCarteret

Between white caps tamed into form
and tidal grasses plugged into place
we’ll opt for spaces unmated to gesture.
No, we haven’t been us, never mind, you or me,
this, the kind of light, rid of weekend frivolity,
fired up from that original ring in this direst grip,
the kind of light even Hopper wouldn’t pose us.
Something worms up out tomorrow to hand-signal us.
Is it those words I lack breath for or haven’t once risked
or the eulogized blue of a Provincetown sky?
A bittern tries to blend in with what’s left of dusk,
forgoing, just this once, its diet of retro-browns, rust.
I try to capture its beak with a stiffened wrist
and with that failing lift the first one I see on the internet.
Another mansion stammers out towards the bluff
as if it can see in its own picture windows
the same masterworks, ego, as Nature.
What in God’s name ever drew us here?
How this backdrop can’t be bothered to preen, go in
for re-fittings, instead always, training on silences, fasting?
A kingfisher is shivering on the edge of a shed,
so in-time it looks rigged-up, attuned to our desires.
You ask if in this vastness some permanence might be
starved out. Never, I say. As if I knew
the first thing about preservation.