Neeli Cherkovski

one old man tugging at the rocks, one
lantern burning
down to the burrow where the red squirrel
waits, the old man
tries to bring the woman who stood near him
back to life, he paces
the shore, he remembers lines from
Walt Whitman’s poem, the sea bird frantic
for its mate, it must have been at Montauk
on the other coast, O I am not okay, my sons
are gone, you are lost, the tower
is no longer so powerful a place, I feel like
never lifting a pen
again, I see the war years behind
us, the dead year to come, one old man
coming a rock with one
long hand, he had lugged such rocks
up the side of the cliff
to build his songs, now his voice
falls silent, the waves are relentless, the small
ones, the hardly discernible unless
one puts an ear to it