for Tim and Arlo
Lake Erie evening, a great blue page
upon which epic lines miles out crest
and disappear, but it is the silence between
surging surf crash washing hush, that swell,
into which the grey bearded man
beside the dying dog stares.
The dog rolls on a dead shad, the man smiles,
the great blue page has turned again,
telling no tale but what the man reads
as alabaster evening sails unfurl
and sunset, which he does not try
to capture on a cell phone, sinks
like a blast furnace on a rusty freighter,
or golden skull ablaze, or Ra’s barge,
or burnished shield of Apollo
that only the too few crew sailing back
to Ithaca would know—
it looks like a biscuit to the dog.
The great blue page has turned again,
the same diaphanous azure as the sky
or vice-versa, and he has finally rowed home
to Cleveland, and the dog rolls in death
one more time before huffling up,
turning to look, are we going?
Ray McNiece is the author of nine books of poems and monologues, most recently Love Song for Cleveland, a collaboration with photographer Tim Lachina and Breath Burns Away, New Haiku. The Orlando Sentinel reporting on Ray’s solo theater piece “Us—Talking Across America” at the Fringe Festival called him “a modern day descendant of Woody Guthrie. He has a way with words and a wry sense of humor.” He toured Russia with Yevgeny Yevtushenko, appeared on Good Morning, Russia and performed at the Moscow Polytech, the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame where he was dubbed “the American Mayakovsky.” He has toured Italy twice with legendary beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He fronts the blues rock band, Tongue-in-Groove. He was appointed Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights in April 2020.
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