Poetry Issue 15

   Issue #17 : July-December 2012

John Labella


      The image is blue, dispersing,

      over an old man and his grandson
      who tries to tie a reef bend.

      There is no reason for the boy
      late in the man’s life

      to ask about utopia; he does not
      have to wonder yet

      if it were instead of a place
      at all possible
      a segment of time.

      The act is common,
      passing on what these hands

      still know to give
      though the boy never will need

      to row far out and cling
      to the lull:

      is that it, the place where light
      settles or falls away?

      It is necessary to keep time
      with the knot—

      left over right, right over left.
      Or right over, then left
      over. What comes first matters

      little so long as the link remains
      and strength is made

      before the image catches up
      with a boy, in time,

      while a man waits, begins
      again to grasp it.