Egyptian freighter, whining Arabic tunes,
muddy coffee over the galley name . . .
What explorers we are, testing the gangplank
of someone else’s ship.
On the wharf, Helen’s Bar:
she’s welcomed sailors in
for fifty years, manning the counter alone, upright
as a new bottle. Dog asleep
in a rocker, jukebox fat as a pope. Enter the swain
bearing his nightly gardenia, for her,
for her brandy glass.
We travel back
to my frostbitten garden, where you try
to harvest gourds by moonlight, filling the alley
with arias, you’re that drunk
and in love
with the impossible, I’m that drunk
and in love with some
idea of you, revenant
from another century:
when we turn to kiss,
the whole sea swarms between us.
Rosanna Warren’s first book, was published this fall by W. W. Norton. (1984)