on the headlands, across the harbor

by Deborah Pless

the bonfire must have reached sixty feet
over the roofs of Bearskin Neck and the wharf
before the lobster boats idling in the harbor
were put back to use by men with sleepy eyes
and pounding skulls

we saw it, cracked and spitting, fit to consume
and from the rocks you asked me: why go to all the trouble
to do this every year, for a fire burned till morning?
I could have told you history, or lies about witches
and Pilgrims and tradition

instead I held your hand and we looked up
at where the flames flew into stars and you
understood, I think, because you didn’t ask again
and the firemen put it out in the morning
and we walked home

To read “at the Meijer’s by the cemetery” by Deborah Pless, buy The Canopy Review Issue 2 at the store.

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