Early Morning at the Point

28 July 2019

By Philip Kuepper


Like a drop curtain to an existential play,
fog obscured the water off Stonington.
At first glance, I saw nothing everywhere.
I stood in a vacuum the color of smoke.
I felt bereft of space.
Depth was absent,
until I focused, gradually,
and saw fade slowly into view
a lone fisherman standing
in a small boat moving west.

Was he fishing for the blues?
They are known to school there.
Or were there scup?
Then he vanished from sight,
swallowed whole by the fog.
Later, another lone
fisherman standing
in a similar boat faded into view,
like a twin of the earlier one.
He, too, vanished from sight.
No sound or motion from either man
came across the water to me,
as they moved across the existential
drop curtain of fog.
Had I been watching ghosts fishing?


In the fog-filled quiet
I stood blind.
I snapped alert
when I heard a roaring
coming nearer, I could not
identify. Then shooting
out of the fog
were two boats racing,
their motors revved to fever pitch.
As quickly as they appeared,
they were swallowed whole
back into the fog.


Later, coming toward me,
from across the water,
I heard the disembodied
voices of young men laughing.
The racers had come to a stop
to the left of me in the fog,
their joy in being out,
hidden, on the water, exultant.


Terns, flying low,
shrieked! close
to shore, crazed
by fish just below
the water’s surface,
wings, sleek,
sharp-edged as fish knives,
as they cut through the skin of the air.


The distant whistles
of two trains passing along the shore,
one bound east,
the other, west,
seemed to be answering
the hollow, haunting
foghorn blowing warning
across the invisible bay.


Every now and then,
breaking into the light lapping
of the tide, would be a heavy
slurp and suck, among the rocks,
of a wave,
like a tongue clucking
its disapproval.


Ah!, the ripe briny
aroma of the sea,
as it rose to meet
rocks, atumble,
shoring up the vulnerable


Over the flat rocks,
close to shore, the interminable
water flowed in slow whorls,
each one a redesigning
of the previous whorl.

(18 July 2019)

One comment

  1. I aalwys enjoy Philip’s poems but this one especially  absorbed me, as it transported me to the experience of being in fog and all that entails. I shall be re-reading it often to appreciate its many levels. Please thank Philip.

    Jane Kingsbury

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