[Composed after the author’s fifth separation from Mlle. Sans-Serif (“the only one I ever initiated”). Transmitted via marine VHF radio and intercepted by the Royal New Zealand Navy. Decrypted. Declassified. Forwarded to my office. —Ed.]


Stargazing starboard, darling. Steadily heading
west toward my destination: Micronesia.
(Even the name sounds like a small forgetting.
Albeit fleeting.) Free but not at leisure.
Pacing the poop by moonlight. Stooping to play
euchre over the gunwale with the porpoises.
Losing. The game, my mind. (Somehow sea spray
makes minds, like shipboards, tend to warp as is.)
Recovering. Reading, by St. Elmo’s fire,
a nineteenth-century allegorical map:
Temptation Straits; the Happiness Empire
lurking along the bottom like a trap.


May my heart raise, the day I reach that shore,
a single white “surrender” semaphore.




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