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West Portal Ledger

"From the bridge of my porch, I chart the stars adrift on a waking sky"

Published onJan 28, 2024
West Portal Ledger

Photo by Oksana Titova: Pexels.com

An ancient bottle of Cholula hides
in the cargo hold of my galley’s
cold shelves. I dump it overboard

into the sink, survey limp celery
and carrots in the hydrator, notice
their leaves, slimy as seaweed,

then settle down to make coffee—
I tip in the last dredges of plant-based milk.
From the bridge of my porch, I chart

the stars adrift on a waking sky,
the moon a silver medallion anchored
to the mast of the radio tower.

As the sun begins to stretch its claws
into day, eating up shadows,
swells of smoke rise from chimneys

like prayers for Poseidon. My neighbor walks
her aging chihuahua, Sir Charles,
along the line of homes,

a tiny rear admiral, marking each berth
with the scent of the sea.


Abby Caplin's poems have appeared in AGNI, Catamaran, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly, Moon City Review, Pennsylvania English, Salt Hill, Spoon River Poetry Review, The Southampton Review, Tikkun, and elsewhere. Among her awards, she has been a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award, a semi-finalist for the Willow Run Poetry Book Award, and a nominee for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of A Doctor Only Pretends: poems about illness, death, and in-between (2022). Abby is a physician in San Francisco, California.

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