Estuary

But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar . . .
—Matthew Arnold

I’d wait each day for tide to turn
           as it released the locks
imprisoning the oyster-boats
           moored at the creek’s old docks,
and watch the sand bars disappear
           when morning’s current ran,
so knob-kneed piles beneath the pier
           across our cove began
to wade in deeper water as
           noon’s hour drifted by
and herring gulls upon their posts
           abandoned them to fly.
From oysters in the creek’s mud-flats
           jets arced in August’s sun
and sawgrass hushed its whispering,
           gradually overrun
by inundation of the cove
           like milk poured in a glass,
a quiet fullness everywhere
           until high tide had passed.
The tide still faithfully returns,
           its own lunatic round
predictable as day and night;
           and if that creek is drowned
today by swelling seas, its shore
           eroded, marsh effaced
and oysters just a memory
           of watermen displaced
by new homesites, shellfish disease,
           or toxins from upstream,
it is ourselves and not our faith
           receding like a dream.

 



Robert Rubin

Robert Alden Rubin was born in 1958, in Roanoke, Virginia, and grew up in Chapel Hill. His education includes a B.A. in Studio Art from Kenyon College, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins University, and a Ph.D in English Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill. He has worked as editor of Carolina Quarterly and as senior editor at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Professionally, he’s been a journalist, editor, and writing teacher at The George Washington University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Meredith College. Published creative work by him includes two edited anthologies of poetry (Poetry Out Loud [1993] and Love Poetry Out Loud [2006]), a book of literary nonfiction (On the Beaten Path: An Appalachian Pilgrimage [2000]), and a smattering of poetry in literary magazines. He won the 2015 Allen Tate Poetry Prize from Sewanee Review. He presently works as a freelance writer/editor, and lives in Fuquay-Varina, NC, where he serves on the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church.


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