painted poem #21/21

For the Drifters




They say the continents are still drifting, nudged each year a little further into the blue. And through the sand and waterways drift the herds—goat tribes and ant colonies, pods of whales and knots of toads.


For millennia dust has drifted in and out of doorways, and in their seasons, pollen and snow. It turns out even glass drifts. The vertical panes that hold our world in place are more like sheets of rain than walls, their bottoms growing thicker down the years.


And so it seems, we are all leaning on water. But some of us lean harder, deeper. This poem is for you—the fallen, with limbs worn to silk. For you light-footed ones, tramped on in the fray. This poem is for all of you solitary singers awash in your own song.


Sleep well tonight, my troubadours. Let the boat of your regret unmoor itself and drift away. The shimmer of harbor lights will reappear when that great dark ship floats out.


© Prartho Sereno, from Washington Prize-winning poetry collection CALL FROM PARIS

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