Come then, they said
come then, they said, and we did
set off across ochre sand. each dawn
the captain’s spirit followed arc of the sun, and we pushed on.
hope rose as the prow of some proud Fifth Avenue revelation;
by noon, aimed scope and yoke of sunlight
had buried it beneath time and her shifting rhymes.
yet, strangely, each blistering, immutable morning
was a relief: always there was a new
porthole to peer through, a new gargoyle to imitate,
and light years to live up to.
in tremulous haze, a shared cigarette took on apodictic significance;
the monarch’s feet steadily crumbled to sand.
as wind wrote lines, setting, in chancery font, editions of one,
there were those who peered out and prayed for even a speck of rock
with coconut palms, rabbits, sticks to hold a point.
a grey-eyed bird might glide by on thermals,
but always without song. we counted on nothing
but the sibilant push, hush beyond the prow.
would I could report I’d stood and spotted
a torch, a tower, a refuge for our kind,
but my lips were as parched as any.
hope in the hold had long threatened to stove in the ribs,
there was no longer any counting of beads.
anyone with a lunula rising understood: this is it.
‘it was a long voyage’ is the narrative we tell the young—
for it is a long voyage, and we weary of the light.
all we have is a chest of names for sun and sand,
and a belief as featureless as wind:
we will not remain forever
too weary for love.