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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Garry Eaton

Dry Dock

Winter is still with us here in Vancouver, though Christmas is over. The changeless weather, with several long months of rain to come, and a real or imagined angst induce a sense of torpid isolation. I drift out of tedious rounds of activity like a fog to settle in some of the city's less hectic corners, deserted beaches, docks, waterfront parks.

where we used to come to dream...
melancholy yacht salesmen

With a feeling like my life is ebbing away, I wonder at how many pleasure boats were purchased, just to be stored here, each in its protected slip, sluing endlessly back and forth tethered to the land and going nowhere!

poetry of the launch
a discarded wine bottle
bumps against a wharf

Up and down with the daily tides, like disregarded stock portfolios. Round and round with the cycles of the moon, like empty carousel horses. A furtive wave starts a small forest of mainmasts dancing to the tune of clinking halyards. Yachts without sails jostle for the wind's attention in a mock display of eager usefulness.

the secret bent
of the magnetic lines
no one at the helm

In these rich northern waters, hulls need to be hauled and cleaned of the encrusted sea life almost yearly. Spring is busy , and today some few have gotten an early start.

dry dock
a gull flies off
with barnacles

Red dust from the anti-fouling paint sanded from hulls washes past toward the sea in streams of rain. I see where the tincture floats away, then disappears down wind, under

the big red belly
of a tanker of crude
its anchor chain

More and more of these are appearing in our precious harbor. Many more threaten to come if the city allows the proposed quadrupling of the current pipeline capacity. Suddenly, I feel my vulnerability to the elements.

coughing fit
my sluggish pulses
dialing 911

I head for the sales office, seeking shelter. The yacht salesman peaks out between his curtain, sees me coming. He thinks a part of me is still looking for the ideal craft. He thinks he can wait. I, however, am thinking of all the pretty coves, boats, parks, wildlife feeding places and quiet anchorages on our coastline, slathered black with oil.

lines on a chart
infernal weather brewing
inside the harbor bridge