Message in a Bottle

If you read this, you take something
made of flesh and bone,
a piece of time and space and breath
not quite a gift, or loan

or even money down upon
some future equal trade,
but more, one part of dialogue
unanswered, thus half-made

To read it and absorb its lines,
then move to other things
without an answer, move or gesture
clips its hopeful wings

Like showing at a picnic
without bringing your own dish,
yet piling high your plate with food
as often as you wish

Without an equal partnership
of muse and write and read
there is no purpose in creation,
just a void that feeds

on what is drawn from single souls
and cast, like nets, to sea
but comes up empty with the trawl.
This then, is my plea:

Who knows how many countless times
this bottle’s come ashore,
been uncorked, contents scanned
unheeded, corked and tossed once more

without a single line appended
to its simple verse?
Without some answer, though
it cross the whole wide universe?

If you read this, add something;
a kind of coin, or praise,
it need be no more than a word —
then send it on its way.

Restuff the contents through the neck
and push the cork in tight;
then watch it float off with the tide
until it fades from sight.

A message in a bottle, sent,
and now, its purpose known:
to speak with those on distant shores
so none may feel alone.

10 JUL 2004

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