A Sister’s Sailing Sestina

She took me to the Fine Arts Museum—:
I asked of a painting, “What’s it about?”
“It’s about itself, keep looking, dear boy:
It may have been the artist was in doubt.”
We left Boston upon a morning whim,
To look for cormorants along the shore.

They stood upon the rocks beyond the shore,
Birds ancient before time began for us—
Before our lives flew our of boundaries
And lamentations far beyond our reach—:
My sister, my twin, across Buzzards Bay
I taught to sail the day she held the helm.

“I cannot hold the sheets and lines and helm:
You’re of no avail on a starboard reach
Unless you winch the jib, drop spinnaker!”
Soon we fall into a slower method,
As harbor awaits in scintillate gleam:
No hesitation, we are together.

At the dock we raft the boat together,
Throwing lines around the balding cleats.
Tide is at our backs, yet we lean to it,
Crave its persuasion to set out again
As if the last swells were a calm bidding
To abide: to forbear: yet remember.

“What is left for we two to remember?”
She asked, spreading our sails in the loft—
“Our parents lost at sea when we were ten?”
“No longer that, my love, no longer that—”
We left that on the wainscoting of love
Which reached beyond the stairs, beyond our cares.

In the morning we kept a glance at cares,
Through our grandmother’s dim, mullioned windows
Towards mustard skies, and ate apple scones
Baked for us by unknown hands days before,
Or in the night, when wrens and finches flew
To nest above our porch—to sing at dawn.

From God’s helm we found the shore together,
Gave our cares to those who may remember.

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