The rich and krill-thick brine that rinses
the lungs’ pink coral, and the light shafts
piercing the pearls of breath that rise
in spirals toward the mottled sun --
O, there's forty fathom or more below,
no danger there from wreck nor gale
amidst the veils of kelp. But you weren’t
wrapped in an oil-skin and jumper, a clewline
trailing from your hand as you sank away
back into the arms of the cold Atlantic,
rueing this life’s brief shore leave,
to live your death among the horned wrack
and sand sharks that prowl
the channel to St. George’s port.
Denied that secret of the mariner’s dream,
you bob back to the surface of a bright,
tiled pool, through the thin film of chlorine
that foams about your limbs as you’re pulled
into the shallow end, your fellow passengers
horrified and leering, deck chairs scattered.
Still, high above, a gull rides the following wind
to guide you back north, the rudder swung hard over,
past the light that guards the ledges off Cohasset.