At night the lights on the pier come on,
and this cheap part of the city becomes a carnival.
The darkness sits on the water,
waves dance with white caps.
The pier looks to be a mile long
all made of timber-
it stretches out forever.
The sea sings its careless scratchy song.
White lights hang above the balustrade
giving the appearance of the path to heaven
or some great party where everyone is late.
A cold wind blows from the islands,
something swims underneath,
an old man stands to one side with a fishing rod.
I stand near him and look down to the black water.
The line disappears as if it is tied to some point on the ocean floor.
He doesn’t look at me. He hides in his huge woollen jacket,
his hat is pulled down around his ears.
I have seen babies wear hats like this
so their ears are kept warm.
But his skin is brown and wrinkled like sand.
He looks as old as this pier.