To Kathleen Wilson, for the novena
The tepid sea detained our staggered fleet
As empty nets adorned the running gunwales
The way a village woman’s temple veils
Would dry on stone in summer’s wrinkling heat.
My brother’s bark felt hollow, incomplete,
Its luckless holds reduced to hungry holes;
So casting eyes ashore I watched the gulls
Harangue a man. Sharp-eyed as an egret
He saw me look. I knew him once, and yet –
As I bobbed like bait fish on gentle swells
And Galilee embraced our rotting hulls –
If asked, is it really something I’d admit?
He turned to catch me watching once before
And hooked me good: “What are you looking for?”