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Colors on the May River

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  • Colors on the May River

    Colors on the May River

    Twenty feet below the bluff, where the slack water is gun metal blue,
    stout, drifting reeds weave themselves into a rustic basket of glowing browns.

    Reaching down with wire-thin legs, the little blue heron settles upon it and rocks about;
    a drop of sun falls on his shoulder; he shines as a rolling black pearl.

    Across the tidal river, a long, knotted cloud-chain is stretched out as on a low table
    above the wooded horizon and glitters, tarnished gold, in the hour of regret.

    The flood tide has erased the dingy oyster beds and ugly mud flats, and has painted
    an impossible cerulean evenness around the long slashes of a grassy archipelago.

    Over my right shoulder the sun is curtained by the purple shade of magnolia leaf;
    over my left, still in sun, the town dock glints silver.

    There, a boy with orange hair and an old man in a wheel chair cast their lines,
    observed by a tricolored dog with a head too small for its body.

    There, two agile teenage boys scale, in turns, the tall concrete pillar and
    lithely bring themselves to their feet on its narrow pinnacle.

    With their arms at their sides, they linger there longer than one might suppose
    and pose statue-still and marble-white before finally leaping off.

    Perhaps they see those substantial houses, like blonde wood children's blocks,
    along the distant shore of Myrtle Island.

    Perhaps they see, as mustard-colored toothpicks, dimly shining in the dusky green gap,
    the low bridge that connects Alljoy with the island.

    Perhaps they note how short the span is; how, as putty-colored dust in a rearview mirror,
    youth's maddening desire might fall way in the crossing.

    John Wertz
    Bluffton, SC