I could tell they were father and son,
the air between them, slack as though
they hardly noticed one another.
The father sanded the gunwales,
the boy coiled the lines.
And I admired them there, each to his task
in the quiet of the long familiar.
The sawdust coated the father’s arms
like dusk coats grass in a field.
The boy worked next on the oarlocks
polishing the brass until it gleamed
as though he could harness the sun.
Who cares what they were thinking,
lucky in their lives
that the spin of the genetic wheel
slowed twice to a stop
and landed each of them here.
The news is still falling
in our kitchen
like invisible rain
as we eat the pink salmon,
the lettuce, the mashed potatoes.
Because now everything
glistens. The candles, the soft
folds of red napkins
each in its place,
as though it all were sacred—
must still be falling.
Not me, not anyone I know.
Earlier in the day, the terrible
news lifted too easily,
a cheap Mylar balloon
cut loose—a tinny flash.
Couldn’t even tell its color
against the sky.