Midday Mirage

By David Sofield
(New Hampshire)

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Scarcely a town that hasn't half
a dozen dozing till the June
sun strikes their bows, these watercraft
that seem to be randomly strewn

in unkempt yards. They're all for sale.
Even the few with outboards still
clamped on appear to be too frail
to rise from trailer-chaises, the drill

of launch and start all but forgot.
They lounge the long midday away.
Up by a house forget-me-nots,
wilting in heat, have overstayed

their reckoning. Slowly someone
scuffs down the drive to drop the price
(four hundred now) on Honeybun,
whose namesake's gone. It's like black ice,

he thinks, the asphalt in this light.
Softly he strokes the hull, looks down
the road again: at second sight,
beyond the grass now turning brown,

that patch of glaze melts to a rare
mirage, as instantly their boat
slides off her gurney and they're there
once more, once more at dawn afloat

upon the waters they had fished
for fifty years. That they would go
together was their simple wish;
indifferent, time had shrugged its no.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/11/midday-mirage/304336/