when your christening failed
we found another bottle, heaved it
against the side of the sea, watched the champagne
sizzle in the foam, and heard the rope snap.
crew scattered. the prince raised his hand, he said
something; I do not remember, but frowning
under his black hat he turned and later that day
rushed to his car. you denied princes the first time we
let you; or at least,
I tasted the wasted champagne in the back of my throat.
We did not move fast enough
to accommodate you, and so you shied
at the gate, protesting the locks and walls
made for smaller ships. Looking up, I wondered
how many in the crowd were betting on you sinking beneath
the weight of the iron heart in your breast: silver coins passed
from hand to hand as it was all maps for me: New York waiting
on white paper far across the servant tides of seas strong-fettered;
you would do this and many more. We simply had to learn you first.
We had to stretch out along the gaps and connect the country.
In the future, all ships would be like this.
People would travel across on holiday.
You would mother industries.
They told me they could build you a heart, I
said do it now, then, and I saw the iron being pulled in
a few days later: to descend your small stairs and keep the thought of the sky in hand
is to take, also white-gloved, the sepulchral bat-winged majesty of your pumping arms
leashed close to your heart with the toothy gears:
apt for all quarters lashed and stars to port sailing toward the inky east.
Let's go home again.
Let's be mariners.