This is the summer of deadwood clearings just past the marshline,
the river a moat along Highway 64. Of daylilies along the dividers.

A summer to visit Blackbeard’s hiding place, his last inlet battleground.
For a few months he burned through its waterways

and now a dozen shops in town consecrate his grave with flags:
a spear, a heart, a skeleton – but what you remember is the hourglass.

This is the summer to walk Ocracoke’s sand, a line in the water,
a long island where wild ponies live in a pen behind two fences

by an observation deck. But you see the white horse in the next paddock,
watching the whole scene. She remembers the beach across the highway.

If you look close you see translucent crabs sneak back
into their holes, see shells like fossils from some astronomer’s treasury.

And at night the ocean sky opens, a thick web of light,
and you stretch your eyes and arms to count each satellite and star mid-arc.

Heather Bowlan