Only the Carver*
At the front of the boat, her breasts bare,
Her long hair locked in ringlets
With the paint of the sea scales
She rides between the phases of the sea and air.
No men see her, busy at the ropes,
Their bodies pulsing like single strands
Against the contracture and loosening of the tides:
Only the carver smiles to his bride.
In the dark attics of the shipyards, keeping course,
Abundant women, with truncated bodies, sprawl across the floor
But on every ship, as a ghost, each is there
Driven forward by rudder and sail
Adrift between the purity and lack of air.
And as to all my relic sisters from the past
The sea renews its lovemaking with its bitter lips
Upon my face, my mouth, my breasts
And down upon my body boat of men<
Whose singing and carousing I must carry through the storm ahead.
* previously published in the CT River Review
and in the poet’s book “OUT OF ORDER.”