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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 31, 2015.
About this Poem 

“I saw them only for a moment, the father and son mentioned in this poem. There was a strong feeling of contentment and concentration in the air as we passed them on our kayak. I was very drawn to it and them and wanted to explore the attraction I felt.”
Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Work

I could tell they were father and son,
the air between them, slack as though
they hardly noticed one another.

The father sanded the gunwales,
the boy coiled the lines.
And I admired them there, each to his task
 
in the quiet of the long familiar.
The sawdust coated the father’s arms 
like dusk coats grass in a field.
 
The boy worked next on the oarlocks
polishing the brass until it gleamed
as though he could harness the sun.

Who cares what they were thinking,
lucky in their lives
that the spin of the genetic wheel
 
slowed twice to a stop
and landed each of them here.

Copyright © 2015 by Sally Bliumis-Dunn. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 31, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Sally Bliumis-Dunn. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 31, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Sally Bliumis-Dunn is the author of Second Skin (Wind Publications, 2010) and Talking Underwater (Wind Publications, 2007). She teaches at Manhattanville College and lives in Armonk, New York.

by this poet

poem

The news is still falling
in our kitchen
like invisible rain

as we eat the pink salmon,
the lettuce, the mashed potatoes.

Because now everything
glistens. The candles, the soft

folds of red napkins
each in its place,

as though it all were sacred—

poem

The whales can’t hear each other calling
in the noise-cluttered sea: they beach themselves.
I saw one once— heaved onto the sand with kelp
stuck to its blue-gray skin.
Heavy and immobile

it lay like a great sadness.
And it was hard to breathe with all the stink.
Its elliptical

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