in memory of Howard Moss


I thought I knew something
about loneliness, but I was wrong.
I'd never been that far east before,
out where Long Island at last

looked like an island, not a suburb.
In the low light of cocktail hour,
in a lone deck chair from the Queen Mary,
Moss looked at his watch and lifted his glass

like an anchor—but first laid out a dog biscuit,
though he didn't have a dog—
and over the rolling lawn-to-be
sailed a rusty but neighborly setter.

The gardener would come tomorrow
to fill in the bare patches we admired,
being too far inland to see the ocean.
He'd never owned a house before.

He looked more like a tortoise than ever,
drawing back into the crevice of kitchen,
happily, from the cavernous living room.
The troublesome heart had yet to make itself felt.