Calypso by Mary O’Malley

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The moon juts her high rump over the town,                                                                                      the tide rises with intent to clarify and drown.

In a dream, a boat moves over the grass.
I know her, twenty-eight foot and a mast.

The Lister engine drums like a snipe. She cuts
towards me. Two swift strokes,

Matisse blue, part the water in a V.
All I want, after the fire’s hard craquelure,

is this shape, the square root of love reduced
to longing, a soft vowel held by two hard

consonants. The dreamworld insists
it is dangerous to burn away more than this.

The debris of my years is plaited into her rough tide.
I steer for the point, with its shield of stormcloud.

I will try to find, on this journey, someone
who has the recipe for honeycombs.

I leave my home – there are no companions –
and step aboard my father’s boat with this instruction:

forget the stars. The cleated angle where the sky
meets to form a roof is all you can rely on now.

Two flicks of the oars and she responds, light as a wishbone,
the gods’ capricious gift for this art of being alone.

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