We walked the length of the pier
toward the colors we’d never
see again in the same light or mood.
Mine was a weary state of mind,
sandals flapping on the walkway
telling me I’d been around too
long, one more July rolling past
and soon it would be fall--again.
His was pure joy in the approach
of the blues, oranges, purples and
whites of the last hours of daylight.
The closer we got to the place
we had to stop, before falling
forever into the darkness below,
the more I could join his joy.
Silhouettes of fathers and sons
appeared before the color-filled
backdrop and all we could hear
was the occasional casting,
a whispery shrill, then nothing.
I imagined the bait, the hooks
swaying down there, the waiting,
as the men and the boys faced
the gradual leaving of the source
of all we were able to see:
not just the marbly sky or
the stillness of the water, not
just the panoramic view--
but members of our tribe
gathered in the waning light,
holding on to their poles
in pure silence...
until one small boy blurted out:
Why do we have to keep away from the edge, Daddy?
The man spoke too softly for us to hear
but we stayed,
we stayed until the clouds moved
away from the moon then followed
its light back to our room.
Barbara Wuest received her MFA from University of California, Irvine. Published poems in Wisconsin Academy Review, The Paris Review, The Cape Rock, Dogwood, Western Ohio Journal, CrossCurrents, Cincinnati Poetry Review, Laurel Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal and others. This poem is included in the chapbook Among Others which is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.