The boat slaps against the timber wharf
the muddy water sloshes against the piers, like water poured out of an old boot.
Mr. Thomas lets out an inadvertent roar into the tired morning.
People around look at him,
not in surprise but more in disappointment,
as if to say:
Yes, we’re all in this, but we are controlling ourselves, thank you.
Thomas looks up and sees a group of teenage school girls,
laughing, their youth pleased with itself in the face of aging misery.
They are too young and strong to be brought down.
They are, in their beauty, like a powerful beacon holding off the heavy night.
He watches one girl for a moment, the tallest and most pretty of the group,
he sees the sunlight finger her blonde-brown hair
like the light in the leaves of a forest.
Then he looks away to see a man throw a cigarette into the harbor.
What promises he made himself
when he was young
and how much more beautiful that woman was
than even that girl
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