stretches to where the tiny white city lights blink,
soon to be subsumed by the ever-increasing distance.
Fog comes. Hovers over the shoulders of the ship,
covers with its soft, cold intervention, erasing all I see;
the land behind me has ceased to be a visible place.
The ship moves on. Gusts smite my face, the wind
whines laments of longing and the steel rigging sings.
The foghorn releases a deep-throated bellow; the sound
vibrates along the hollow highways of my bones.
No one is on the ship. Deck chairs are empty, their canvas
seats coated with the sea’s saline breath. No footsteps tap
on passageways. Cabins lights are extinguished.
On hawsers, lifeboats sway, never to be lowered.
Hour by hour, the days cloaked as nights, the ship sails
away into the vast darkness, shot like an aimless, mighty arrow.
No captain commands, no helmsman steers, the anchor chains are cut.
We shudder on, the ship and I, far from everything, from everyone.
As always, on land, others have others. They sleep together,
snug in warm houses. They speak and are heard, they touch and
are touched; to them “family” is not an irrelevant word.
And, as always, I am alone. A course set in youth, but now
this solitary state is state-decreed. No longer can I employ
the distractions of small social interactions, the busyness of errands.
This is more of what came before; it is therefore all too familiar.
Should this ship arrive somewhere, I wonder: will anyone be there?
Laury A. Egan is the author of five novels and a collection: "The Outcast Oracle," "Fog and Other Stories," "Jenny Kidd," "Fabulous! An Opera Buffa," "A Bittersweet Tale," and "The Ungodly Hour." Four limited-edition poetry volumes have been published: "Snow, Shadows, a Stranger;" "Beneath the Lion’s Paw;" "The Sea & Beyond;" and "Presence & Absence." Member of Authors Guild. Website: www.lauryaegan.com