Sonia Greenfield

I WAS WAITING FOR MY SHIP TO COME IN

 

on shore, a harbor, at the end of a wooden pier
            jutting out to accommodate a deep keel, tides
rising and falling, following my own cycles. In this

stasis, I counted each new gray hair, counted every white
            cap in the distance, counted pelicans in their heavy
formations of aircraft, counted all the leapt fish.

Against the horizon, a vessel’s blocky silhouette
            appeared, and because I had been patient for this long,
I knew I could keep up with waiting, but because

I was tired, I sat cross-legged where the boardwalk
            dropped off to the green below. When the moon’s
hook of bone was hoisted, I laid down facing the water

with unknowable night in front of me, tangy breezes, 
            and a shape steaming through the darkness. In the ache
of morning, I got to my feet as the sun came up

from hills behind me and tipped its light
            into the valley’s cup only to find before me a mistake
of perspective. That which should have been a ship

was just a Boston Whaler. I don’t know why the magnet
            of myself that drew it to shore didn’t know that proximity
wouldn’t make it grow. Still, I could captain this, 

I thought, so I tied off the bow line to a rusty cleat, 
            and clambered into a boat made for no more than three. 
I wouldn’t call it seaworthy. It can’t weather squalls

or swells— it's pretty small— but it hugs a shoreline
            just fine. I can give it gas, trace a v's wake around
the land’s shape, and call it all mine.

 

back to contents

prev
next