This Fog Poem By Alan Feldman
Well, now I’m lost in fog. Not metaphorically.
Not in the middle of life’s journey. But mid-way
Between green can “8” and Hadley Harbor,
Which should be beyond that atheistic whiteness
That might as well be the edge of the earth. I cling
To the one gray-black rocky finger of land
Included in the mortal circle I can see.
Depth should be four feet or better to the west of that
So I’ll drop anchor as soon as I get there,
Wait for death in one spot, not sailing and motoring
Against a current fast enough to make green can “8”
Look like the smokestack of a drowned steamer
Going full speed ahead even as it’s sinking.
Oh God, I think, though I do not think I believe
In petitionary prayer. The sea is bigger than I am,
And I always do something to reawaken a sense of contingency.
Who else to talk to? My voice to the living
Would sound pathetic and posthumous as the cockpit voice recorder
Recovered from crashes, or the too-human postures
Of the charcoal-colored Mt. Vesuvius victims
Reaching for help, still, after two thousand years.
So, by the compass, I’m going to have to save myself,
Believe in my belief that’s Timmy Point,
No parent, or instructor, to nod a calm confirmation.
Lower an anchor, and hope the one rock I can see,
Shaped like an anvil, isn’t taken from me too
By this fog. This fog which, if I live, will soon be metaphor.
first published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, vol. 75, no. 2, Spring 1999