After dark, we would drive along the waves,
my father and I, the black Gulf–
among Siesta Village suburbs
painted ostentatious shades of coral
subdued by moon
and out to the crumbling piers.
I hung smudged feet
out the window, cut my teeth
on heat and Vietnam stories,
on vanilla soft-serve cones
handed from the drive-through window,
on tales of boot camp and orphanage.
Old men peered from the bait shop,
lighted yachts bobbed by
heady with the drunken glee of gin.
He spoke to the night,
rolled down the window,
at peace with the stench of sea
life washed ashore.
Atop the water there is smoothness until
the fish, pierced, is lifted up
with bloodied fins to be gutted,
and there are always a few
rainbow trout jumping,
wet with sharp lace,
but he spoke of long-gone things,
oblivious to the shimmering fish
in front of him.
Marsha Lewis is an organic vegetable grower who lives near Philadelphia,
PA. She divides her seasons between farming for a community center in the
city from spring to fall and working with people with disabilities in the