At the Narrows

By Meredith Davies Hadaway

Featured Image: The Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer, 1899

Now, when even midday sun holds shadows,
and only the wooden boats are left, bless
scarred hulls and splintered pilings.

Bless the hands that still twist eel into lines
of hard commerce. Bless the motor’s stutter
declaring, yes, we will go out. Bless the foul

mud that peppers the gunnel, the ascent
of the bait, its twitch as it goes over the roller.
Bless the slow crab, too greedy for stink to see

the net coming and the basket, slats leaking
a scrabble of claws. Wanda J, Alice Rose,
Edna—grubby river angels, decks swollen

with rain, smelling of brine and rot, all divot
and slop—bless your deadrise, your hard
chine, your rudder. In the morning, all will

blur into mist. Crabs will begin their exodus
to deeper waters. We tell ourselves they will
be back. May this, too, be true.

Meredith Davies Hadaway is the author of three poetry collections: Fishing Secrets of the Dead, The River is a Reason, and At The Narrows (winner of the 2015 Delmarva Book Prize for Creative Writing). She has received fellowships and awards from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council. Hadaway is a former Rose O’Neill Writer-in-Residence at Washington College.

Originally appeared in NOR 17

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