How many waves my voyage makes
is known only to the shores.
There island boys cast their lines,
hoping to catch news
of the deeper world,
not to hook the surface ships
whose names are too far to read,
whose captains wear the spray of cold waters,
who map rocks cutting through the waves
to a beach where only their eyes land
like a blank message in a bottle.

Tonight on my floating island,
my drifting hull with smokestacks for trees,
I am too weary from storm to sail away.
I drop the anchor like a dead bird,
watch a forbidden coastline bob up and down.

Island girls wave to me from home fires.
I warm my hands on their distant light,
briefly touched by their story.
Know we all are passing ships,
self-tangled anglers
watching drift off
the one that got away.

Robert S. King has been writing and publishing since the 1970s. His work has appeared in hundreds of magazines, including The Kenyon
Review, Southern Poetry Review, Lullwater Review, Chariton Review, and others. He is currently Director of FutureCycle Poetry,


Copyright 2009