It was quite the rigamarole—
first the report of the broken boat
found high and dry in a bed of petunias,
then the tale of how it had sailed down
out of the heavens on a cold rainy Tuesday—
out of the great galvanized bucket of the heaving sky—
each of us knew what to make of it.
The mayor proposed a stern letter be written;
the councillor shuffled his ordinances.
The police dogs searched it for drugs.
The priest prayed for the drowned crew.
The biologist listed the worms and the sea-lice.
The woodcarver filled out some forms for the planks.
The camera man assembled his sepia lenses.
The psychologist warned of a wave of hysteria.
The evangelist read signs of the pending apocalypse.
The love-sick boy notched her name in the hull.
The real-estate agent cooked up a deal.
The historian ransacked his files for parallels.
The artist dreamt of a cottage conversion;
the politician sized up the tourist potential.
The carpenter said it was a big job to fix her;
the hardware men boxed up all sizes of nails.
The poet tossed off an exquisite ode;
the adman was sure he could mount a campaign.
Axe in hand, the fire chief rose to the occasion.
The pigeons were glad of a new perch.
It was quite the ballyhoo. Then,
while they were arguing among themselves
the boat lifted itself up out of their element,
into the blue—its battered planks clattering,
its twisted keel an inward grin—
and moved crazily on.
From Red Ledger (2006) by Mary Dalton