The Quay at Wexford
Jeffrey C. Alfier

Footpaths shouldered by boundary
walls, townscape funneled to harbor,

a storm petrel blown inland by weather
portent to sailors. I discover in the compass

of a stranger’s voice the bearing
to the water, the sea in the city’s hands.

The blue-gray sky is a torn quilt conceding
a damp shaft of dawnlight to crumbled

berths and ramps along the Ferrybanks
where gulls feather the mudflats. Here is late

spring leaning against doors in prevailing winds.
The sun wants to breach clouds, spread

its balm over shadows that walkers drag
across the quay. Someone heaves a hawser

ashore. Pennants on masts stiffen in a breeze.
A man paints his daughter’s name on the stern 

of his boat. Circled back to the seawall,
the petrel builds its home in our derelict stone.

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