Poem [cloudy stills of whiskey]

We watched the men working the cloudy stills of whiskey, from the balcony we saw them sample the hot mash and push back their caps and say By God! Autumn has the most perfect days. But the jars were small and forty dollars. We left them in their damp boots and climbed the pitted steps to the highest point in the county. Trees, trees, berries of deepest black on red stems, nothing but a woodpecker sharpening his tools around us. Our giant shadows fell upon the town and they laid waste to everything with gentle adumbrations then darkened the harbor.

Poem [Indian summer]

Indian Summer. Can I say that? Its beauty warms our beautiful bones. Let it stay that way, it’s rare we grant them anything. Give them back blue & green Staten Island today, give them back the oysters from the bay. Enormous insects and stately lawn tents. Even our sloops and brigantines, give them these, for today. With one hand, and take it back with the other.

Poem [if your flag is up]

I think if your flag is up or down it tells them something. Your boats shoulder through huge daisies. Blue day held at bay by the serendipitous tent. I got us some clams for lunch. Open them: the world opens again after a long silence. I will break the silence. My son furls the jib of a walnut shell boat. Put forth on the harbor in your walnut shell sloop. If I do not return in time to tell you more remember to set forth.
Matthew Rohrer is the author of five books, most recently Rise Up, published by Wave Books. He is a poetry editor for Fence and lives in Brooklyn. With Joshua Beckman, he wrote Nice Hat. Thanks and the audio CD Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty.