This week’s poem, by Sally Bliumis-Dunn, celebrates kinship and the connection of shared work. I love the richly tactile details of the men’s tasks and the appreciative eye of the onlooker, as she takes in all that the two create together.

Bliumis-Dunn’s poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, On the Seawall, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner and elsewhere. Her third full-length collection, “Echolocation,” was published by Plume Editions’s Madhat Press in 2018.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, indigenous writers, and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below. 


By Sally Bliumis-Dunn

I could tell they were father and son,
the air between them, slack as though
they hardly noticed one another.

The father sanded the gunwales,
the boy coiled the lines.
And I admired them there, each to his task

in the quiet of the long familiar.
The sawdust coated the father’s arms
like dusk coats grass in a field.

The boy worked next on the oarlocks
polishing the brass until it gleamed
as though he could harness the sun.

Who cares what they were thinking,
lucky in their lives
that the spin of the genetic wheel

slowed twice to a stop
and landed each of them here.


Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Work,” copyright © 2018 by Sally Bliumis-Dunn, reprinted from “Echolocation,” published by Madhat Press. It appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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