The Night-Boat

This morning there’s no place I’d rather be
than here with you. Light enlarges us,
the hour lingers, a white sail skims the edge
of the sea. Surely the soul, too, shines
like a skiff, luminous beneath April skies.
Last night I saw you frown, looking at me,
looking for signs. I told the doctor my right

ankle swells. Could it be from the chemo
or is it the cancer? He listened. Fear
moves like a muscle under the skin, deep,
a silent rippling. It sets off a panic
and I cycle through stages in lockstep
with despair. Still bargaining, still searching
for the one moment, its perfect closure.

What does it take to trust? We are at sea,
you and I, and the soul that rises,
rises like an island between us. Wary
dreamers. At night, we sleep. Moths watch
from the screens. Oars slide without sound
into the water and all through the hours,
the night-boat glides us toward morning.

—From “Seaworthy,” @ 2018 River Rock Books

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