Along Water Street
You didn’t believe in reincarnation,
but you are the harbor.
You shed your faded pink blouse and blue jeans,
spread your arms and don the sea,
wrap it about your shoulders
like an inky blanket flecked with buttons of pearl.
Your legs are the pillars and the tired, faded boards of the pier
that hold up the people of this city, that keep me walking,
keep me watching for the sun to reach down from the steel grey
of a cloud-covered sky and kiss my eyes.
Some days I want nothing more
than to go back to sleep and wake
with one hand holding the red ribbon of a balloon
and the other tightly in yours,
walking the boardwalk
smelling handmade soap
and fresh roasted peanuts,
a time when the barnacles and limpets
competing for space underneath the wharf
didn’t make me think of cell division and metastasis.
I don’t know where I will go when I die,
if I will find peace in the dirt of a grave,
or if someone will smell me
in the saltwater wind
or see me in the turning prow
of a green and white tugboat
leaving the harbor
again and again.