– in memory of Jim Marinell
by Louis McKee
The road went on for hundreds of yards
beyond the last of the houses,
past the hanging trees, to the sea grasses and mosquitoes.
On the darkest nights of summer,
when there was nothing to see but stars and fireflies
and the two moons, one washed blue
hanging in the sky, and the other, spread like a spangled cloth
over the softly lapping bay,
we would sit quietly on the damp wooden wall,
me and the girl who used to walk with me,
and look at the lights so far away,
at the small boats moored just below the bulkhead.
Once she said – understand, this was more
than thirty-five years ago – she said we could take one
of the boats and row away, head toward the lights, then go right.
She said, "How could it be wrong, to go right?"
That’s what I think of whenever I see boats, Jim,
tied up but ready, or when I am confronted
by water, or just sitting in the dark.
My first instinct is to make for the lights,
then I remember, and let myself drift right –
how could it be wrong?