JENNIFER K. SWEENEY
How Many Leaves and Boats Gather Together
Buoy the blue
night, small boats lifting
beyond the layers of tremble and tree.
We are the watchers of the world,
the notetakers, the lonely captains
sailing over the good earth.
Meanwhile, the birds fly west--
if they had a religion it would be
the agreement of flight--
and fish swim east in silver wheels
through a horizon of slow-blooming sound.
Leave the moonlight to itself,
what little may be answered.
Let night whisper into the hull
of your ear
the other language.
that we ride silently
into the harbor
alone and no one sees--
arrival or departure--
but that it matters to be briefly
carried to so close a place
as home on such
a thin and flickering sea.
211 The Paris-American
Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of Little Spells (New Issues Press), How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press), and Salt Memory. The recipient of the James Laughlin Award and a Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Awl, Broadsided, Mississippi Review, Poetry Daily, Terrain, and Verse Daily. She lives in California’s Inland Empire where she teaches privately and at the University of Redlands.