All day the boats look, but the search turns up
nothing. That night we sit on the front porch awhile
haloed by citronella candles as a lone truck
combs the lamp-lit streets, spraying
for mosquitos. A three-legged dog you tell me
is named Lucky roams past, sniffing
the jasmine before continuing his patrol.
How can she bear it, the pitiful woman
who lost her boy to the bay’s tricky current?
Who consoles her now? Come morning
we walk to the beach again, wading out
knee-deep, staring farther, as if we might tell
where the steep and sudden drop of the
shipping channel lies. Already the sun throbs
in the sky, while somewhere a mother’s cries
shrivel toward acceptance. We watch
the new day’s crowd of beachgoers arrive—
unfolding chairs, fanning blankets—as water
whispers away the last of the boy’s story.
The depths are a church of shadow and light.
After a while, we hotfoot our way across the sand
and back to our rented cottage, where not even
a pitcher of Old-Fashioneds can slake the dryness
in my throat. I know as well as anyone how longing
is a maze that burrows inside us. In the evening
we idle on the porch again, no easy lesson taught.
We breathe in jasmine and wait for Lucky.