for Spalding Gray
The West and North winds both lover us, wanting, bitter,
to bring us in close in the small hold.
Tongues loll and laze, while the flap
and snapping above: crazy wanderlust.
The basin must cradle, keep her passengers,
though the hero abandoned the ferry for the real sea.
Is nothing worthy?
Wallet on bench. Wallet at home. Wallet at rest.
The child, even his cries, must the ship balance,
makes me wild to right this unhumanly keeling.
I have six arms, am the dismembered figurehead,
ballast, breasts covered in blue scales.
I am at rudder, at bow, at mast, at rigging,
at deck, at halyard, at stern, when the hold
explodes with screaming.
One boy has stolen the other’s marble. The boat shifts, tilts.
A wallet washes up against us.
Is this what you meant when you said a family steadied you?
Is this what they see when they see me and my six handless arms,
shining torso and cuspid humor?
The figurehead has no need for eyelids, must
on-guard, vigil, dry eyed.
But she dreams. Dreams.
The sail, its fine apparel, its linen long-shadow: a tiny hand