The Open Boat

“Shipwrecks are apropos of nothing.”

The open boat
has four men in it and me,
a stowaway,
sodden in the splashing tide
beneath their curled feet.

The shore is far away,
pencil-thin
on the gray slate horizon.

“Funny  He don’t see us . . . “

We drift stunned and still
on the slow-rolling waves,
the surf like capsized clouds.

We will spill into the sea
like astonished ash.

“Funny  He don’t see us . . .  “

We will watch for the hand
that will reach down
through the sunset haze
and pick us up,
fragile and whimpering,

for the hand
that will set us down,
like glass dolls,
among rooted bluebells
and polished pewter cups.

“Funny  He don’t see us . . .  “

The shark circles,
its fins glinting with stars.

 

 

Close

too close

remember
the Ax-man
does his number
splitting dreams

remember
life in Antarctica
the sun
splitting
down

on unaccommodated woman
cold but serene
in the eye of the storm

now

blankets
sheets
voices
skin

this Sunday in April
nudges forward
on streets
narrow and

dangerous

he lights a fire
and in it
wood animals burn

and by it
like birds
we preen our wings

each feather
alive
in the heat