Parable with Broken Frame

An old architect at a littered worktable
     sits through morning, eyes fixed on ocean,
intent through evening at the study window,
     motionless though his hand rebuilds years.

Down razory defiles to the rockledge landing
     stands of flittergold awash in wind,
and through soft lolling labia of the waves
     tiny boats coming in, setting out.
Priest and corpsedresser begin the climb to his house,
     their empty craft nibbles at spindrift.
A bridegroom and his man steer for the islands,
     plinky music unrolls with their wake.

A last stone has been set in place, final tile,
     the bride folds her face in streaming hands,
a black duo mounts to the door and goes in.
     All of these I have been, none holds me.

From Collected Shorter Poems by John Peck. Copyright © 1999 by John Peck. First published in 1999 by Carcanet Press Limited. Published 2003 by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. Reprinted by permission of TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.