Open Season
by Judith K. Liebmann, Poet Laureate 2024 -

I am sitting here
in this sunlit room

reading poetry
in reticent
of beauty and the clamorous image.

But nothing is simple.

The breakfast tray requires attention -
sunlight overflows the grapefruit
hull, egg-rests congeal.

Outside my window, the sea
heaves, washing up seaweed
from last night’s squall.

In the lee of Outer Island
three men hunker down
in a pod-shaped boat, around
them decoys float like fallen leaves.

The chill of stunted days
and cooling nights brought
scaup and golden-eye
out of the north, rafting up
to winter in the bay.

The hunters followed,
summoned in their season.

Now a shotgun cracks
a warning,
and another.

A cloud of sea-ducks
rises up, reshapes and
settles further out to sea.

A golden dog, head tilted
skyward, swims to fetch the fallen.

On the table the book lies
open to the stanza patterns
of a poem by Roethke:
the poet rides the glass roof
of his father’s greenhouse, drunk
with the power of a possible fall.

I turn away, take up the tray,
trusting that promises will keep
held by sunlight
and the open book.