A Poem by Donna Wolf-Palacio

Two If By Sea



Today, a man of no inspiring grace stands on a ship.

The visor of his cap covers his eyes.

This man is the emperor of big.


In 1775, a man on a horse says to his friend, “One if by land,

two if by sea,” points to the belfry arch of the North Church tower.

He silently rows to the Charlestown shore.

Hovering, phantom ship, huge black hulk, magnified

by its reflection in the tide.

His friend climbs the wooden stairs of the tower.

The man on the opposite side

sees two lamps in the North Church tower,

mounts his horse, rides through village and farm

to Lexington and Concord.


So who is who and what is what?

Can the Mystic River foresee the dimming of the light

and how it will rise in that land of mountains?



Donna Wolf-Palacio is author of What I Don’t Know and The Other Side, published by Finishing Line Press. She taught a poetry workshop at the University of the Arts and was editor/consultant of the UARTS Poetry Review. She has published her writing in Poetry, The Pennsylvania Gazette, The MusehouseJournal, Intro, The Interpreter, Poems ftom the Heart: Poems about Adoption, and Voices.

She has received grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Leeway Foundation, and the Pennsyvania Council for the Arts.

Donna’s new collection STEP LIGHTLY is available for preorder at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/step-lightly-by-donna-wolf-palacio/


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