By Michael Hettich
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Additional info for A small boat: poems
Page 22 Down at the Docks You find yourself rolling loaded dice in an old boat, down in the cave where the crewmen sleep. Fish seem to swim in the air around you, attracted, you imagine, to your voice. They dart away at the sharp sound of the dice and hang as shadows, part of the darkness. The men pretend to pay you what they owe you and then they pretend to go to sleep. She was buying a flank of fish when you emerged from belowdecks, black suit and dark glasses slightly steamed, pockets bulging.
If we had vanished forever we would have never been missed. The cool root- colored water polished our bodies as heavy fish and snakes I imagined pulled back into a forest of roots to watch, and the current coaxed us gently, imperceptibly toward the turquoise sea a hundred miles away. Page 32 Red Feather, Colorado for Colleen Trees pressed up against the snow we walked across. Animals slept below our footprints. When they stirred in their sleep we fell through the crust sometimes to the waist, to the topmost branches of the trees in which frozen birds perched, waiting for the sky to melt.
Hurt birds thrashing by the side of the highway as I hurry to work, radio blaring. And then, like the click of a perfect lid, he disappeared. The ground, you told me, was littered with feathers. The wind was a wall. <><><><><><><><><><><><> These days, it seems, we hardly talk at all. 5. Gestures that contain a life. The sky is always moving. His granddaughter grew wings she told only him about. But tonight, something kept climbing over the edge of his ribs to look over her shoulder, into the book he was pretending to read.