The day's only heat is a gold aura
At five o'clock as August dwindles down
To a waving sea of yellowing grass,
The green of central summer gone to rust.
Overhead, hawks ride spheric shafts of wind.
Small beige birds flit from low bush to low bush.
The lake is a blank blue sheet, a second sky.
Downtown, teens gather at street corners, bored,
Or retreat to the darkness of bedrooms,
Where yesterday's passionate enterprise
Holds no appeal, though it has not changed.
The rest of us take up our adult tasks
In the same ancient, solitary way.
There is some tiny gift we won't accept.
At pitch dark in the harbor, railroad cars
Interlock, jamming together in thuds.
With the last car, a floodlight switches off,
And the panorama fades to darkness.
Everywhere there is a loss of mooring
As the light goes out, and the unseen freight
Goes out toward the difficult, daylit world.
Juror comments: Poet Deborah Keenan selected Mark Maire's poem as part of the 2009 mnLIT cycle; she says: "This poem for its capital R romantic vision, and for its truth-telling. This poem for its calm, elegant image-making, and for its sense of motion and loss."
About the poet: Mark Maire has lived in Duluth for almost 25 years, employed as a reference librarian. His poems have previously appeared in a number of literary magazines, most recently in the Minnetonka Review, Blueline, Cape Rock, and Phantasmagoria.
About his writing, Maire says: "I think I've persevered with poetry because it offers the opportunity to capture a particular state of mind and emotion in as few words as necessary- usually a great challenge. I revise over and over until I reach the point where I feel I've done the best I can. My output is fairly small. Some of the most memorable books of poetry I've read in recent years are Incomplete Knowledge by Jeffrey Harrison, Without End by Adam Zagajewski, and Green Squall by Jay Hoppler."
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