Dingle, Ireland

 

Nevertheless, the boat is on the rocks.
We conjure up all sorts of disasters,
reaching for bloody details of the affair.
A slow forward motion, and then that’s it—
this boat leaning on the rocks, rotted through,
its ribs flaked like sponge, the paint chipped, faded.
These rocks have grown used to the weight.
It gives them something to do
besides hug the mud and wait for water.

 

 You say the town should have moved it by now—
rusty nails everywhere luring local kids
into tetanus shots. Maybe it serves
as a warning to would-be drunken sailors,
maybe as a reminder of lives lost,
or livelihoods. Maybe they are waiting
for a concerned neighbor to start something:
hire a truck, sink it, burn it, bury it.
But there is no motion here—the spirit
stagnant, like the water. Like the water.

Introduce yourself to The New Criterion for the lowest price ever—and a receive an extra issue as thanks.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 15 Number 10, on page 38
Copyright © 2019 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
newcriterion.com/issues/1997/6/abandoned-ship