Two Poems, I.S. Welsh


What is it, Clifton?

Why’d I come back to be

Near you,

Near the ruins of what was–

The fish heads

The sea lions

The workers

The pines.

Why’d I come back to this place

As if a steamboat had dropped me off

At the wrong dock

And I, travel weary,

Had stepped to shore without question

Except for where

Can I lay down

My things?

What is it, Clifton?

Why’d you have to draw me

Down that road

Off the highway

So I’d lay my eyes

On the water-logged posts

Standing loyally


In the river

Like a whole slew of hosts

Waiting to welcome me


Or maybe

Their backs are turned

To me

As they wait for their ships

Arriving from the sea–

Ghost ships.

They wait