There is a rock pier reaching into the Long Island Sound,
where my 12 year-old self used to whisper promises into the night,
or wonder what the older kids did out on the tip of that boulder-built finger,
or what those rocks had experienced, having been placed carefully so long ago.
The pier was majestic and fun and welcoming during the day:
Strewn with stubborn barnacles at low tide, the damp smell of salt water and seaweed;
Or precariously slippery when the tide swelled and the rocks lay deep and wet,
and I treaded carefully across their slick, gray, periscoping anatomy.
But nighttime was when the pier held its real power over me,
stretched shadowing grays in the black beneath the New England moon,
whispering watery secrets from the slumbering Sound,
pointing into and disappearing inside the swallowing, busy darkness.
My older sister told me the high-schoolers (to me, giants of coolness)
would venture to the end at night and play Pink Floyd on boom boxes,
“Is there anybody out there?” and my imagination filled in the rest:
cigarettes lit, maybe some beer, girls giggling, someone scaring someone else.
Across the water, I was also told, you could see the beach where the convicted man,
soon approaching parole, had disposed of his murder victim in a wood chipper.
This was long before Fargo. Though if true it no doubt served as inspiration
for that gruesome cinematic event: pressing victim into that screaming maw.
The horror added to the pathos of that slumbering pier—
in earshot of that ungodly noise. In my mind’s eye I could see as clearly as those boulders:
It was all solid dark, blind—only the sound of grinding gas blades through hard rock where I lay.
It was compressional clarity. It was the moon and the cold night blanket laid over all.
It was everything resounding over the Sound, night and day,
while the boulders sat and slumped and searched, feeling into the muddy tides,
or held teenagers on their backs, or murmured secrets into the black.
And still to this day sit, with their blind memory of everything promised and everything done.