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Charlevoix, Michigan

Aug. 24, 2014
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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.



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