Night, Plum Island, 1983

I drop my pail and fishing gear

drive a spike deep into sand

work a sea worm onto the barb.

The cod are running.

Dozens of poles lean out,

a fleet of lines pulled taut beyond the breakers.

Waves at the shoreline hush, hush.


The sea’s sudden quivering

sets my pole jigging

my spool spinning.

Fish lift into air


fall back.

I reel them in

eager to dislodge the hook


cast back into the game.

There are no throwbacks

no chance of losing.

I bring in fish after fish

smash heads under my boot,

a brusque

but sparing death

over what it takes

to drown in air.


This is how beauty is,

without censure,

exposing the glassy shore,

silvered strands stabbing through dark

the long tremulo of the reel 

a flash of scales

the wrestle, the thrash

the thud of fish

after fish into white buckets.

Black eyes sequined by a climbing moon.


Black Flies

A full flown army

advances in waves  

the milky pulp of their paratroopers

thick on my windshield.


When I leave my car

hiking to Elephant Head

to watch a red streaked sky

they follow me, swarm

my face, hover behind my ear,

aim their tipped swords.


I strike back, a blow to my arm,

a slap to my neck, any bared

flesh a battleground.

Those who sacrifice their lives

to avenge my highway slaughter

rise again in welt and woe


while I can only scratch blood-

black ink across a credulous page

to vilify as I see fit.



Into the World

The osprey’s vigil

blocks out a piece of sky.


It had to start somewhere.

Why not at the top

of this pine, nearly dead

roots still holding?


And why not

where branches stop

reaching and come

to a kind of crux

that calls for something?


A few sticks

strong and plain,

the sense to lay them this way,

not that.


What's left is luxury,

needles, bark, moss,

to fill the gaps

soften the inside

sharpen the rim,

until something fragile

can come into the world.


A Pushcart Prize nominee Diana Cole’s poems have appeared in numerous journals including Blueline, Avocet, Off the Coast, The Christian Century, The Cider Press Review, Poetry East, Spillway, the Tar River Review, and upcoming in the Main Street Rag. She is a member of the Ocean State Poets whose mission is to encourage the reading, writing and sharing of poetry. Though OSP she offers a workshop in speaking poems, Poetry Aloud. In addition to writing, Diana is a stained glass and mosaic artist.