The boats like liquidambar leaves were moored
within a harbor slick as puddle glass.
No tempest cut their lines. No vandal scored
his mischief, slicing ropes that held them fast.
Instead their hemp by decades of disuse
was fungus-eaten, decomposing, frayed,
unraveling until each boat broke loose,
and left rag hanging in the jetty’s shade.

At first the crafts rode gently their release,
but weather ever changes in these parts.
A tossing storm arose athwart their peace,
and each to float must lighten. Round their hearts
are clutter they must jettison before
they sink unnoticed to the harbor floor.

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