North on the Illahee Ferry
So there you are, where you wanted to be.
I can imagine the Seattle city pier falling away
behind you. Herring gulls wheel along their wires,
reflections shattering in the ferry wake. You lean out
over the swell, caught by blue distance, and when
the cold finds its way onto the deck, plunder a pocket
for an orange and break the body into crescent-shaped
pieces brought in a wooden cage over the pass
from their God-hung green night. Teeth tear membrane
as the coastline recedes. North is sudden and near,
the final island before dark. Urgently the senses surge
toward Texas, parts south where an orchard yields
the finite sun over and over again, where once
someone loved you. Swallow what reminds you of home.
What’s held in both hands and the limitless motion
you longed for and only dimly understand—love,
the same thing sustains them, the vastness
that’s kept you and indeed everyone on the vessel afloat.
And at this table where a letter has reached us,
is being read and reread, we are nearly present on the boat,
when both citrus and the salt season the moment.
—Anne M. Doe Overstreet, from Delicate Machinery Suspended
T.S. Poetry Press, 2011