The Dock

On the day you arrive

you go down to the end

of the dock

where you find

no water.

Instead,

a mud-cracked plain.

Tall red weeds

sprout oblique with the wind

and along the wooden

edges.

You are soon joined

at the low precipice

by a man with a white beard

and a fat little dog

bespeckled,

limping,

in search of justice.

The water used to come to here,

says the man with a Spanish accent.

You feel the scene

should hush in reverence,

but as the sun sets behind

the mountain, a fire

rises behind you

encircled by hecklers

who laugh

like vapid coyotes

and hasten what time

might have been taken

before reaching

its terminal horizon.

The man with his dog

steps off the edge and out

into the darkening mud, footsunk

in deepening progression.

Hidden pronunciations of a life

lived will someday be found

down in the lazy cursive

of a lengthening trail

formed

in the wake

of a dog brought home.

Someone near the fire

shouts in no clear direction,

“you look like a serial killer!”

It must be this

is the most outrageous joke yet

if the shrieking

that cuts down

the smoke-filled night,

makes ordinary

the diminished mountain

lake.

It becomes safer

to ignore

what earlier

was everything

if it was meant to shrink

into laughter

anyway.