The sea was talking to itself
all night, gray and full.
The dying bees swept out
by sunrise, all evidence
of the previous day erased.
Landlubber, auburn-haired wonder
bundled in wool, tide me over till
I can be here again. The sea, my friend
the sea, my death.
Fishermen wander, poles
to the wind. When will
I give up my wandering?
When my loneliness melts in the sea.
The sea is loneliness
the sea takes melancholy, gives back
driftwood, a tired bottle, worn
to a new thing, mute by its journey.
It no longer belongs to us, refuses
to tell us what it has seen.
I saw the sea first
when I was sixteen, fair-haired
barely out of depression, the doldrums
still clutching my painted boat. My toenails painted
the blue of mermaids. My heart already broken
by a hundred tiny things.
The sea does not touch Portland.
In the dark rain by our small, polluted
river, we stitch patches
over holes and grope the legs of our desolation.
But in the silver of moon, with grains of sand in my eyes
I tell myself I am independent, wise.
The sea is too big to be lost next to.
It will swallow me, keep me in its belly
of loneliness to polish till I’m dead
till its dreams become mine and my aloneness
is that of a sand dollar, a great white shark
a drowned man - so full he has nothing to say.