For years he’s subsisted on the catches
of crabbing and surf casting
and the coins and occasional jewelry
turned up by the metal detector
for which he swapped the small diamond ring
he stumbled upon churning in the surf.
When he’s not “catching,” he keeps to himself
in his ramshackle travel trailer
grounded a few hundred feet from the beach,
save, every year, for the few cold December
nights when the fog rolls in, around the time
decades back when he lost his only child,
he emerges to play, with all the breath
he can muster, bagpipes whose flawless notes
probe the unforgiving darkness
like the trembling fingers of the blind.
Larry D. Thomas, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate, has published twenty-three print books of poetry and numerous online chapbooks. His most recently published poetry collections are In a Field of Cotton: Mississippi River Delta Poems (Blue Horse Press 2019) and States of Red and Blue (a limited edition print chapbook published by Right Hand Pointing in late 2020 and recently republished online at Right Hand Pointing). A longtime contributor of poetry to the Green Hills Literary Lantern, Thomas was the featured poet of the February 2021 issue of the Delta Poetry Review.