by Scott Cairns
Honoring my mother, I have christened
my boat Ειρήνη. Honoring my dad,
I keep a crab pot on the bow, two poles
upright adorning the solid stern. Here,
afloat, honoring the home my parents
chose to build for me, honoring their gifts,
I drift amid late days meandering
these straits, the ebb and flow of just such salt
passages as they once floated in their day.
Of a given morning, I too set out
among our stone and coarse-sand beaches, pleased
by the swelling Sound, attended by a wash
of vivid memory. I almost see
their bright faces leaning in to bless my
quiet loll among the several islands
hereabouts, where peace is both profound
and ever beckoning of what seems now
an ongoing conversation with them both,
and also with the God who has seen fit
to draw me home to calm these final days.
Scott Cairns is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Missouri and directs the low-residency MFA program at Seattle Pacific University. His most recent collections are Idiot Psalms (2014) and Slow Pilgrim (2015). His spiritual memoir, Short Trip to the Edge, was reprinted in 2016.