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Coming Home the Chimes

Coming home I hear the chimes
teased by winds in May and weather
hung lakeside of the house
a water clang of lanyards, boats
against their hitches, storms
and seagulls, salt, expanse of waves
found south by Ocracoke
a spit of land so tendon lean
not sure to be in seasons hence
wandering unpaved lanes
we would traverse by breakfast.
We held a passion for the out of way
provided shellfish, decent beer
to entertain us in those days.

Near shoals–sailor-cursed
once pirates laid up days when
barnacles needed scraping
blockade runners, privateers
beachcombers waving old Nag
lanterns. Poor and barren dry
as bone. Changed from then to now
overwhelmed by Beltway slugs
fudge and ice cream bars. Late morning
getting off, south past Jockey’s Ridge
the dogs with noses outboard
defending each a window
we’d slide by dunes and ocean swells
to gain the ferry to a spit of sand
crushed by storms with names.
The clapboard house converted
to a tourist shop sat inches off
the gravel lot, our dogs’ uncanny
wolf gaze captivating toddlers
eating ice cream, easy pickings
as I toured the porch outside
thumping chimes for tones
sold since boyhood on the sounds
of leeward warnings.

Ocracoke’s a life away
those pirates and their ladies
a place no rusting chimes could claim
still boxed from moving in
I hung the morning of his funeral
–to think he once
stood surf then beached his board
amused to watch a kids’ brigade
of buckets sculpting beach sand
in Starkey’s photograph
capturing his fleeting interval
playing beauty where it lay
–to hear these cold tones since.