Tide Point in the bay;
the ducks aloft, gliding in the shimmer,
a mother and her chicks; a wind
picks up slightly as the water taxi launches
its last blow: one long leaving;
ports in Little Italy; the Fortlighter than
the wind, the ghosts cavort:
captains, shanghaied boys; sweethearts
in their corsets or tattooed
like these young lovers kissing in the shadows
at the pier, holding on to
phantoms of each other, drunk on beer;
visitors to open air,
to streetlights quickening along the planks,
witnesses to tall ships,
tankers, houseboats in the slip: a world on the verge
of some distress.
A woman, for example, on the tipsy edge,
leaves the bar, casts off
on cobbled streets; inside herself
the compass. Did he mean it
when he said he'd take her in the dinghy?
If she had to, could she swim?
One foot out,
the other; out where night is anchored:
out where night is vast, heaving.