How to Build a Lighthouse

Nathan McClain

The story begins with a beacon

in a tower of brick.

Or it begins with a man,

you’d call him the keeper,

who mostly refuses

sleep to listen

to the steady crash

of the Pacific or the red buoy’s

sad clanging inside the mist.

It begins with brick,

wheelbarrows of bricks

someone must stack

into the shape of a story.

The night was too black

for stars. The light

failed; the man slept. The rest

you should already know.

How silly we were

to trust in man, but who

hasn’t made that mistake?

Inside the mist, the red buoy

clanged its sadness

as the man slept;

that’s how the story begins.

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