RISK

by Diana Whitney


Ice tumbles into the glass. I’ll take
my summer shaken, not stirred.
The Pursuit of Happiness rumbled

the harbor at 9 am, a crowd of revelers
reeling astern. Grannie spied through binoculars
from her high white porch, sharp eyes

keeping tabs on the neighbors, the wildlife,
the baby ospreys keening in their nest,
weakly swallowing another mackerel, gathering

strength for late August flight.
I miss the sanctified dawn and the secret glory.
Up here all we do is sleep, lulled

into drowsy contentment at the abundance of sun
and time, ice cream and crab dip.
We’ve already explored the outlying islands

eaten beach plums on Outer Heron,
hunted the rumor of a treasure chest
sunk in the interior, heard the headless ghost

of Damariscove calling for his lost dog.
Beyond the Thread of Life shimmers open ocean
but we don’t have permission, nor enough gas.

Back in the Cove the children shriek
Look, it’s the Happiness! and yes she’s back
in time for cocktails at the club

with Illusion, Surprise, Spellbound and Dido,
Outrageous, Panacea, and Promises.
Oysters on the half-shell with smiles of lemon.

Porch sunset with seagulls, masts clinking.
If I was waiting for a sea-change
it’s not coming this year. Ice tumbles

into the glass. You can take it
or leave it. You usually take it.
Evening comes on blurred at the seams,

the beginnings of mist
wisping over flat ocean. Trick
of the eye, slip of the tongue, I’m longing

for longing for longing again, the beautiful risk
of losing everything.

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