joining me as a bowsprit
on my usual whale-watch vessel
now wintering in Florida, a day trip
en route to Key West

a lonely teen evokes
my lover in college
the year before I met her before

two dolphins leap in front of us and

in his rounds, a crewman explains

“you don’t see that often, especially so far
from shore . you saw them, didn’t you?
you’re very lucky”

an omen, then, to the past


in town, roosters in banty yards
on back streets, warning


such a disappointing declaration
to swarming eyeballs
anticipating something more exotic
a gator, perchance, or snakepit
or open voodoo performed with hot sauce
please understand, you’re approaching Haiti


acknowledging this is an island of Biblical proportions
I stand outside Hemingway’s veranda
and shout prophetically


meaning her scorn
for required high school reading

this touch of sarcasm gleaned
teaching Sunday school
in New Hampshire

this day, when I’m my own old man of the sea,
is held in the tentacles of Genesis


again the Gulf waters roil
and the decision is announced
we’ll be sent back by land (one)
rather than any Paradise Lost
without moonlight
in the dark
road houses and health food
storefronts along the midnight
highway become fragments
of reggae notes, the songs of another
vanished lover, between mangrove


even on a subtropical bus
cockroaches climb toilet walls
mimicking addresses I’ve left

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full set of seacoast poems,
click here.


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