Red exclamation on the chart,
body of light the black, gale-gathered wave
Owls Head, Cape Porpoise,
Pemaquid Neck, the Graves.
Each speaks one phrase into the dark.
Blue spark each eighteen seconds;
a fixed, steady beam; continuous quick
amber flashing; isophase; occulting green —
luminous conversation, joined
by the occasional blown ember
of a low-flying plane.
A fishing boat's
mute question answered: here.
We navigate past unseen landfalls,
invisible riprap strewn with humped, remembered shapes
of sleeping seals.
Your hand is on the tiller. Flash.
Tense, I count to fourteen. Flash.
“That's Isles of Shoals”.
Once more the world's word can be trusted,
a net flung on the fluid night, like stars.
Don't think, now, of those other
whose light, still somewhere pulsing into space,
looked into the blank eye of their last storm
and on our chart is marked extinguished.