Boats

Hailey Leithauser

Boats are sad folks
as they rock
and they rock tied
in the dull
tinfoil light to
their docks.
Boats could be
cradles, they
look just
like cradles so
emptied
and hollowed
of hope
that they
float. Boats
adore all the green rivers
and seas that
ignore them, that
pat without
romance their broad
wooden backsides
in rhythmic,
laconic,
salty, fat slaps
and how they
are cozy
and slow, boats,
lonely, given the names
of out-of-date mistresses,
loved and abandoned
like mistresses: Patsy,
Peggy, Trudy
and Beatrice. Coffins
are boats too,
scuttled
and scrapped
in a close,
airless ocean,
less
empty perhaps, but
still sad. I had
a boat once and I painted it
blue. I assume
it was glum as
the rest and I guess
it forgot me in time,
and maybe it swelled
and it rotted
and maybe its tiny
blue paint flakes
blistered and
swam as a swarm
of stubborn,
lost stars
chipped off
and shed
in the balletic
brace
of aggregate heaven-
light slopping
its wake.

Hailey Leithauser is the author of Swoop. She has published work in 32 Poems, The Antioch Review, Dark Horse, The Gettysburg Review, The Hopkins Review, and elsewhere.
Originally published:
October 1, 2018

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