Ghost of a Bay
A cherished bay is desolate,
brackish seaweed asleep,
frustrated seagulls have all fled,
hungry cormorants huddle
on a silent buoy.
Once a crystalline bay,
a gill net set at dusk
yielded enough mackerel
to feed a whole family
a winter's supply of salt fish.
Trays of steamers, mussels
quahogs, oysters and bar clams
filled to the brim at every ebb tide,
sea-trout skipped over whitecaps,
python-long eels scurried into traps,
lobsters could always be poached
when the law was out of sight.
Now fishermen stand like the clay
soldiers at the Chinese tomb,
peering at the barren sea,
fishing boats glumly hauled away
breadwinners all on "pogy."
Foreign trawlers sucked up fish,
underbelly of the bay new home to PCBs.
Eels now slither across the road, dead mollusks,
crabs and jellyfish line the oil slick shore.
Estuaries languish and weep,
tides paralyzed in mourning.
Even the wind has gone away.
Milton P. Ehrlich