Stephen Barile: “Engine Block”




On the Lost Coast 
in dense fog, 
from a weathered cliff
held by wildflowers and weeds,
a warning-bell clangs
every five seconds
for eight hours straight.
Boats that venture too close
near the anchoring ground 
enter a sea-churned chaos, 
Anguish of white foam
and piteous self-destruction.
On the shore at Shelter Cove,
a rusted, cast-iron engine block,
Barr Marine V-8,
valve-covers torn off
rocker arms crumbling
flywheel frozen, resting
in a cobble field
sea-grass smelling profane.
Where were the mountings
of the pleasure craft 
that surrounded you?
Way too heavy 
for the price of salvage
battered inward
with each succeeding tide,
to the land 
where it came from. 
The sea’s contribution, 
a predictable pull 
of sun and moon
in the maelstrom.


About the Author: Stephen Barile, a Fresno, California native, was educated in the public schools, and attended Fresno City College, Fresno Pacific University, and California State University, Fresno. He is the former chairman of the William Saroyan Society, and a long-time member of the Fresno Poet’s Association. Mr. Barile taught writing at Madera Center Community College, lives and writes in Fresno. His poems have been published extensively, including The Heartland Review, Rio Grande Review, The Packinghouse Review, Undercurrents, The Broad River Review, The San Joaquin Review, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Beginnings, Pharos, and Flies, Cockroaches, and Poets.


Image Credit: “Man demonstrating ship rescue apparatus” Bain News Service, The Library of Congress, Public Domain

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