Set me adrift.

Watch the crackled paint of my fledgling gunwale

lurch from side to side, bobbing like a nervous buoy,

my hull blinking its uneasy S.O.S

toward a shrinking sun.


Do not let the rope burn your delicate hands.

Throw it instead, sloppily. I will heave it hand

over hand back into myself, this soaking, umbilical

appendage; a heaving stillborn corpse

to dredge.


Let your lighthouse skim the air

above my head, where the tips of my arms

wave, limp and resigned;

your duty done.


When light from my burning frame reaches

you – a blaze across darkness, churning a

tranquil sky-

turn away.

Wash your hands in the salty brine

of your bitter content.


But when you summon me again from the safety of your

shore – gleaming, expectant eyes, shouting at the wind,

your hands covering sensitive eyes

against too much light –


You will stand until the blue sea fades to murky black,

and still until the rising mist ascends

to beckon forth your wrinkled brow,

and all you will hear,

across the rippling fathoms

that swallowed me in tatters

and spit me out again

whole – a refugee upon

another shore –

is silence.


© 2017 Kristina Moulaison

Photo credit: Moonlight, Wood Island Light by artist Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), 1894

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