moore-uffizi

The Man Arriving

by George Moore

All you can do is assume
a great grandfather at the gunwale,

scouting the skyline coming into view
after more than a month at sea,

some century and a half before.
Seventeen. A tenant farmer

for whom the seas are always Irish
and holy. The first voyage

his last, arriving complete;
no need to move beyond Illinois.

Like weak tea, the image
needs a stronger kick to pilot it

into harbor. The gulls looking
for a feast, the black docks rising like

Neptune’s teeth, and no one
greeting you, only this memory,

could you steer it into its berth,
a chain of names

we haul at feverishly.

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George Moore publications include The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, North American Review, Colorado Review, Antigonish, Blast, and Orion. After teaching literature and writing with the University of Colorado for many years, he is presently living with his wife, a Canadian poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Among other collections his newest was out in September from FutureCycle PressSeptember, Saint Agnes Outside the Walls,