Beneath the Fishery Wharf
A tugboat grunts, churning up muck.
Beneath the fishery wharf
where I camp, no one sees
the cigarette coal light my face.
This blanket of darkness suits me.
lines my nest as snug as any room
for rent downtown. Tubeworms
make better neighbors anyhow,
They're quiet at night
and never pry. Mussels thrive here.
Railway spikes fetch twenty cents.
And don't the starlings catch fire
at dawn, flocking to scour
boxcars for grain. As smoke
carries ash from foundry stacks,
the bay winds billow birds
out the wharf-piles.
I whistle softly and watch.
All the world is scudding, gathering.
Paul Lindholdt is the author most recently of the books Explorations in Ecocriticism and In Earshot of Water. His nonfiction has appeared in Alternet, Portland Monthly and Sewanee Review. He’s a professor at Eastern Washington University.