Sea Interlude: Passacaglia
Pulling the rowboat into shallower water,
you wedged an oar into the rocks. I squinted
down at the carp, struggling to see them
like a memory in which only part
of a moment returns, the rest somehow unlit,
blank like a swath of tiles missing
from a Byzantine mosaic—a scar
that will not reflect another century’s light.
Later, when the boat & your body
& the light have found their way,
what will there be for me? Will the scales,
elegant as hammered gold, shine through
the water? Or will I have lost them already,
fallen through my hands, every one?
“Sea Interlude: Passacaglia” originally appeared in The Missouri Review.
Richie Hofmann is the recipient of a 2012 Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Poetry, New England Review, and the New Yorker, among others. His poetic sequence, “Old World Elegy,” winner of the Memorious Art Song Contest, is being set by composer Brian Baxter and will premiere at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago in May 2013. He is currently pursuing his M.F.A. in the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. More information at www.richiehofmann.com.