Poems

You can read some of Andrew Becraft’s poetry here on Andrew-Becraft.com:


Bodies of Water

Published in the Fall 2008 issue of Prairie Schooner

I.

Two days later and a thousand miles north,
we combed the beach for scallops, scanned the sky
for eagles, checked the tree line for grizzlies,
watched the waves for humpbacks and orcas.
We spent those first days of our life together
somewhere between land and sea, earth and water,
a place more real than the many houses since.
Sometimes I dream we’re back there on that shore,
writing in the sand, the sky above us
full of white clouds reflecting off the Sound.
Ten years later and a hundred miles inland,
I wake up in the middle of the night
and mistake the rumble of highway traffic
for the steady thunder of surf on the beach.

II.

Overhead, a heron flaps through the mist.
Down below, we pause to examine paw prints
in the wet sand – paired pads and five claws.
We follow the bear cub along the shoreline,
past matted clumps of eel grass, broken
oyster shells, logs scoured by sand and wind.
The water steams a white wall of fog.
Then we find a larger set of paired prints
and learn the thrill that prickles the nape
of the neck, that works its way tingling
down arms and spine, that rushes roaring
through the ears, that darkens the edge of sight.
We pause again and crows rise from the brush.
You take my hand and we turn back for home.

III.

Driftwood logs cradled us against the wind
as stones clattered beneath our shifting feet
and spray at our backs carried scents of moss
that clung to spruce and pine out on the rocks.
When we kissed, I knew the salt I tasted
on your lips was the salt you tasted on mine.
Like diving weights around our waists, agates
and jade pulled our coats toward the damp sand.
Stepping across the stream, we both fell in.
The slick bank streaked red dirt on knees and hands.
We made love at home that night, and I knew
our lives had changed, knew we’d found the truth:
I am a river. You are an ocean.
There is nothing that can stand between us.


Things I Learned on St. Margaret’s Bay

Published in the Fall 2008 issue of Prairie Schooner

Some days out here on the water, the gulls
stand still in the wind. It whips the waves
into swells taller than your flat is long.
Know that I won’t hear you over the crash
and roar. If you lose an oar, you may die.

Check your painter. A bad bowline could mean
I leave you floating out here on the bay.

Tuna are social creatures. If we don’t
catch another soon, this one will die
no matter how many mackerel and cod
we move from the trap to the pound.

Don’t wear those gloves. They might catch
in the winch and take your hand or arm.
Learn to take the gobfish stings like me.
Surviving out here can mean leaving behind
things your mother put into your suitcase.

I don’t hate you. I just can’t let you die.

Squid make good squirt guns, but don’t you dare.

When we clean the leader, pick out the dogfish
and rockfish and tell me where the twine
has snapped. I’ll need to fix those holes.

Gaff sunfish by the eye and toss them back.
You may think they’re cute, but they’re worth nothing.

Forget the money and keep tossing them
more fish. I’ve never seen porpoises so close.

Here, take this. It’s been a bad summer
and it’s not much, but the sea is like that.
Some years we get twelve bluefin and trucks
line up at the launch everyday. Years
like this, we’re lucky that one we did catch
was still fresh when we pulled it from the water.

Don’t rub your eyes. The worst pain I ever
felt, a mackerel scale got stuck in my eye.
The doctor couldn’t find it for two weeks.

When the air stills at dawn and fog hides
the shore, you might hear a moose or loon call.

2 thoughts on “Poems”

  1. Hey Andrew,

    Just spending a little time appreciating your expressions and perceptions. You have always had a way with words. Your beach-inspired poetry fits well for me today, I spent the day on our local beach, chasing tide pools and jumping rocks. There is something magical and timeless about the ocean.

    Thanks for writing, and for putting it out here.
    Krista

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

The official word-hoard of Andrew Becraft