for the christening of a ship
BY KATIE CONDON
I cannot offer you a sky & an egret
or a small marsh & thirty turtles
gathered & sunning all in a row.
You are not an airboat. Or a steeple
from which I hang my white sails.
Perhaps you are a window, or a vessel
tailored for the soul & the quiet
tinks of rain on a car-hood—for my voice
that said, I grabbed the blanket from the bed
of my truck, when I really wanted
to grab the rain & sea. There is a sea
at the back of my eyes.
In it, a dock & your bow bobbing
in waves disjointed by wind.
You are not a houseboat, or a journey-boat.
The hand with which I bless you
knows no god—is not so proud
to prevent me from falling to my knees
& huddling there with childless
murmuring. Your pity like the dark
lull of the marsh.
The shipping channel is dredged
& deep, dredged & deep.
I’ve seen you gather the sea
around your face like a mask.
Help me mask me. I cannot find mine.
It is somewhere here—
I’ve felt its sleep for years
beating its fists against
the dark in my eyes.