One great eye an island. On the horizon today
two silver lines divide the Atlantic from the sky
as though there were another island, a field of ice
inaccessible, moving forward and away, barrier
dreams that rise at the banded limit of the view.
I have dreamt this sea, its grays and greens,
and how the silver multiplies beneath clouds,
sequins on a blue gown the singer wore,
sand the stage on which she walked, even
strands of dark seaweed, hair ribbons tossed away.
How well this element suits us, human touches
left — a sagging volleyball net, edges of court
marked with yellow cord; red horse shoes, stakes rusting;
a child’s plastic chair, a larger wooden one;
a compound of sand castles where a retriever plays.
Beyond dunes and sea grasses, a lone wind turbine,
its white blades post-modern, seeming out of place
like the blue silo nearby (what on earth could be
grown this near the beach?), reminders of the made.
September weather we have been waiting for—
I took that line from Cape and Islands NPR, sure
it cannot be improved upon, restrained Vineyard
speech in which prevailing winds are not always
in favor of those who watch that wind, know
salt water tides have been both curse and cure.
But sand and light and wind and water have been
for me a kind of tonic, later afternoon light
drifting across a corner of the mind, salt air on skin.
I have traveled half a continent to learn how
arriving on an island might be like arriving home.
Jane Hoogestraat was in residence at the Martha’s Vineyard Writers’ Residency (Edgartown) in September of 2012.