Miami sunlight, as in a painting
by the poet Donald Justice:
a V of three pelicans drifting south
past the condos and the royal palms,
aflame now with the green scent
of coconut & parrot. Out, out
towards the darker waters
the pelicans keep drifting …

I watch my in-laws, both eighty now,
shift about their small apartment
here north of the city, and guess
at what it is they must be thinking:
the brilliance of some perfect noon,
the doctor staring down into the shallows
of their eyes, as the soul slips now
through the gaping fissures …

It is what we always think about,
though we mask it every way we can …
and think instead of sunlight in Miami,
as in a painting by the poet Donald
Justice, which shows the keylime
cobalt brilliance of a surging
Gulf Stream, and in the background
three dots drifting slowly out to sea …

Paul Mariani

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 10 Number 4, on page 127
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