Michael Lythgoe. Leaving Delray Beach in January.

12 Dec

Leaving Delray Beach In January

I follow the freighted full moon
north to Jupiter. The moon and I
ride low in intracoastal waterway.

At sundown we tie up
at the lagoon in St. Sebastian.
After conch fritters and mussels

I rendezvous with my old friend.
Lady Heron wades up to her thighs
in the shallows near the pier.

She moves like a dancer
in the partial light, disappears
in the shadows. Out beyond

the marina, the river shimmers,
moonlight spangles the surface.
I lose sight of the moon

above the river where
manatees loll in warm
effluence from coal-fired

power plants. Behind me
a tornado blows through
Delray Beach.

At first light I leave, pass
St. Sebastian Catholic Church,
do not stop for Mass,

skirt Jax by noon, remember
my night in St. Mary’s
on my way down.

I stop to watch the ferry
return from the island. Pelican
makes plans on the piling.

After goat cheese with honey
and pecans, I retire alone
to the small upper room

in the B&B. I knew the boomers
armed with cruise missiles moored
nearby at Kings Bay Nuclear Submarine

Base. I push on and get home
before sundown, in time
for Mass in my own parish.

The priest reads the gospel
by St. Luke, the Greek physician
who visits his mentor, St. Paul,

in prison every day. Pope Francis
says he believes this is a time
for mercy. He quotes St. John

of the Cross:
“In the evening of life, we will
be judged on love alone.”


Michael Lythgoe

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