Nantucket 1937 by William Davidson

The bees are on the borage. The flowers are perfect blue stars.

We watch the old Americans standing in the sea. They have rakes and baskets in tyre tubes and they scrape for scallops. The children dive down and catch them by hand. Scallops aren’t just hanging in the eel grass like fruit in an orchard. They are jetting through the water, castanetting around the harbour.

We wait for our families to come. We cycle up to Altar Rock to look out for airships in the sky and liners on the sea. Some days we run up Orange Street and climb the tower of the Unitarian Church. We long for its golden dome to shine like Brant Point and Great Point and Sankaty Light. We wish for lighthouses to rise around the black forests of Europe and for fleets of lightships to line up across the ocean, lightships with anchors dropped two thousand fathoms, lighting the way from the Bay of Biscay to Nantucket Sound.

We pick cranberries. We bounce each cranberry on the rock. We eat the ones that bounce the best, soft and salty. In Nantucket, salt crusts to the houses and crystals on our lips.

The bees are on the borage. The flowers are perfect blue stars.


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