I saw nine dolphins once churn three by three
         In echelons behind a ferry boat
                  As though a combine harvested the sea,

Curving toward our wake as asymptote,
         But only three at once above the brine.
                  One rank leapt, then the next, so you could note

Now three, now three, now three – a staggering nine!
         Gesturing, shouts and cellphones: all surprised,
                  And joyful, as if water’d turned to wine,

Or pirates into porpoises. Outsized
         Luck and happiness then seemed to trail
                  Our common path, until the pod revised

Its course, and swerved away. I do not sail
         On any vessel now, but I look back
                  And face the troubled wake of salt, and fail

To see nine dolphins arching – just a pack
         Of ragtag seagulls shrieking through the sheen
                  Of opalescent fumes blown from the stack –

And think of where we’re headed, where we’ve been,
          And things I’ve seen, and might not see again,
                  And sights that one day no one will have seen.

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