The steamer smudges the horizon
of early stars – so he imagines
adrift on a deserted ocean, headed
nowhere in particular. Flat on his back
he eyes the ceiling fans lethargically
pushing at heated air. All day
the sun hangs overhead like a paper lantern
he can’t tear out of the sky.
The steamer pushes on through nights
dense as treacle. He’s visited
by eyeless statues or by one red mouth
laughing, laughing. Sometimes a woman
tall as a forest but without a shadow
sprinkles his eyes with dream-dust.
When he wakes it feels like falling: the dizziness
of what he is forbidden to remember.
The steamer plods a well-worn circuit.
No surprises. But for him each morning
dawns identically strange. He plots the journey
in black across the flatness of a page,
hasn’t a clue where he is. Even the shadows
fall differently here. Against his cabin wall
a play of light off restless water. A continent away
a friendship slips its moorings.