THE LIGHTS ON THE BOATS
You do this to break people’s hearts, don’t you?
I didn’t start this to break anyone’s heart.
Last night, miles off shore, the boats could not
be seen, only their lights like small stars
low in the sky, punctuating the unseen horizon.
I want to be exact. I want to be as precise
as possible, the lights from the boats
not stars but like stars. Crab season has arrived,
and this is now a nightly occurrence.
Does this explain it to you? Does this help
you understand why I do this? Not to break
people’s hearts; no, never that. Early this morning,
the sunlight creeping down the hillside, enough
light in the sky to erase the lights of the boats,
I walked down to the Pacific. Why do any of us
do the things we do? I have raised no children,
but I need to understand that kind of insanity.
Mother, I write to understand so many things,
even that rampant act of commitment. At the beach,
a small boy, maybe five, would run a hundred yards,
perhaps, and then rush back to his mother. Over and over,
the boy swinging out from her and returning.
I actually know people who write to break hearts,
but I am not one of those people. You know full well
I have had my heart broken more than once,
so it isn’t out of lack of understanding the material.
To be exact, to be precise, is a kind of purity at times,
even if impossible. The stringency, the odd joy
of deploying the right word: do you see? I never did
this to break someone’s heart. Time after time, I have
sought the courage, the resolve, to break my own.