The cloud bank over Cuttyhunk, like scalloped linen—

just a short sail to faith and theology,

divine imprudence, the tides of doubt.

What was our workday, we who abandoned prayer?

The canted port from which the dories set out,

the rotted wharves, the glued-together clapboard

cottages primly ranked, their makeup peeling,

all investments in some Ponzi scheme

of childhood, intimate but not metaphysical.

There was a candor to the inked clouds,

their shadows ruled off by Dürer, the nervous

hatchmarks of each fold of cloth, flesh,

such as might be remembered in, of, grace.

The dories then. Oars up, floating in.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 34 Number 2, on page 27
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