What It Takes, by Lisa Starr

Photo by Lisa Sprague

Photo by Lisa Sprague

Lisa Starr, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Emerita, spent the last thirty years running an inn (The Hygeia House) and The Block Island Poetry Project, and raising two amazing children on a small island off the coast of Rhode Island. The business sold, the kids grew up, and Lisa relocated to Westerly, where she is at work on her next collection, Pot Luck, a book of poems about children.

What It Takes

All it takes is one blue rowboat tied to a buoy,
and its reflection, and this moment
for me to go remembering everything.

Then a murmur, the sound of water lapping,
the breeze snapping, and the way the leaves
resist the letting go, or don’t…

the wheels of a bicycle soaring downhill
with some gravity-glad rider—
all of it, all of it complicit.

What I’m talking about is the sheer, shimmering
faith of the rope that connects the boat to the buoy
and the hands that tied the knot, and the fathers

who teach their sons and daughters
these simple things I see all day
and sometimes, not at all.

Moments like this become miracle, oracle,
and my heart knows again that the whole world—
this one—is just my own face in the mirror,

and I know that I am the boat and the buoy
and the rope—and like faith, that holy smoke—
I am brilliant, and bobbing, and blue. ♦

See Parabola Volume 41, No. 4 “Generosity & Service,” Winter 2016-2017 for two other poems by Lisa Starr. This issue is available to purchase here. If you have enjoyed this piece, consider subscribing.