The water in the print is fading from sun and years
but there is still a white shine on each wave
from the moon in the vast sky.
Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight
though I didn’t know his work when I hung it.
It was my mother’s, wedged behind another print
in a frame, and now it is mine. It doesn’t make me feel
any particular way—sun-bleached as it is, so Turner’s fading sky
fades faster. There are torches burning in the right corner,
perpetually, debris floating away from each keel.
The figures at the horizon are almost imperceptible--
they may be mountains. After your book on Turner, I returned
to the print, assuming it would open itself to me.
I visited the gallery in DC and stood at the real thing
thinking only your thoughts, I stood inside your ghost.
In the shadow of eternity, the sky holds smoke
from the fire, rising and arching over the water. It holds the moon
there at the heart of it, though one could almost miss it—the sky so blue
and bright white. For the Keelmen, it is always the end
of a long night. It looks like morning.
Amanda Allen Stallings
Amanda Allen Stallings holds a BFA in Poetry from SUNY Potsdam, and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Maryland College Park. Her work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, and Glass Mountain. She currently teaches academic and creative writing at the University of Maryland.
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