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The Ship Mid-Way

Anna Mioduchowska
From:   In-Between Seasons. Rowan Books, 1998.


on sleepless nights, instead of counting sheep
I think of my great grandfather, who came
into a tiny fortune in what should have been
his middle years, the news sealed in a letter
his wife immediately stitched into the lining
of his good coat, at dawn the next morning
his eldest saw him to the train

the bank clerk in the capital
was the last man known to have seen
the lucky fellow alive

robbers, the story goes; dropped his body
from a bridge — the coat was found nearby —
and drowned the tiny fortune in drink
and syphilitic women

a sad but not dishonourable end
for an honest family man

he sailed for Canada, I like to think
on sleepless nights instead of counting sheep
bought a passage on the very next boat
and gladly slipped from the spectre of the familiar
ravenous fields, his wife's thick ankles
his children's greed

if I lie still enough in my half of the bed
I hear his steps mark time on the ship's
wooden deck, the ship mid-way between what was
and what yet might be, his sunburnt face
thrust into the wind, his shrunken soul
swelling with visions as profuse
as the horizon before his eyes

stop! I whisper into the dark
the house snores evenly into the cedars outside
at rest after a hard day

take me with you! I stretch my arm
towards the stocky outline receding
into the night; coatless, I want to run
after his disappearing back

...take me with you...take me with you...
the walls mock in reply



Anna Mioduchowska's works copyright © to the author.


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