• Backyard Boats

    Henry Hughes

    Summer 2018

    On blocks and rusted trailers,
    cracked hatches, moldy seats, chewed wires—
    squirrels hulling acorns
    under a pitted propeller shaft.

    Dozens in town. Sun-cracked ski boats,
    bloated cruisers, McNary’s Catalina 22—
    dog sleeping on the dirty heap of sails. And our Whaler
    Dad keeps saying he’s gonna take out
    this year

    is filling with oak leaves again, bitter
    black-stained decks, cracked chrome
    and tarnished cleats where we tied up
    at Newport with a cooler of crabs
    and two coho.

    What colossal cresting dream
    grounded our pleasures so high in hulks
    we have to mow around? Try not to think of the money,
    the sweat, or

    even that beautiful gopher-wood ark
    rotting on Mount Ararat
    after God said Enough.

    Henry Hughes is the author of four collections of poetry and the memoir Back Seat with Fish. He edited two Everyman’s Library anthologies on fishing, and his essays and reviews appear regularly in Harvard Review. He teaches at Western Oregon University.

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