The Ferryman at Prince Edward County

Carol Shields
1935 – 2003


Busy with his ropes and gears,
tides and currents,
he didn’t know and never
will how he came to appear
scowling in our
family snapshot.

We brought him home
by accident
on a film showing
part of a holiday,
children in jerseys on the dock,
grinning, puddled in sun,
and at the edge,
the ferryman’s dark image.

Well, that’s one way
to survive,
to be captured alive
by someone, caught
by a click and locked
in a box held by an unknown
hand at an unknown hour.

Later to rise from
a chemical bath imprinted on
a glossy three-by-five
to glare
out forever,

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