for the christening of a ship
BY KATIE CONDON
I cannot offer you a sky & an egret
or a small marsh & thirty turtles
gathered & sunning all in a row.
You are not an airboat. Or a steeple
from which I hang my white sails.
Perhaps you are a window, or a vessel
tailored for the soul & the quiet
tinks of rain on a car-hood—for my voice
that said, I grabbed the blanket from the bed
of my truck, when I really wanted
to grab the rain & sea. There is a sea
at the back of my eyes.
In it, a dock & your bow bobbing
in waves disjointed by wind.
You are not a houseboat, or a journey-boat.
The hand with which I bless you
knows no god—is not so proud
to prevent me from falling to my knees
& huddling there with childless
murmuring. Your pity like the dark
lull of the marsh.
The shipping channel is dredged
& deep, dredged & deep.
I’ve seen you gather the sea
around your face like a mask.
Help me mask me. I cannot find mine.
It is somewhere here—
I’ve felt its sleep for years
beating its fists against
the dark in my eyes.
Katie Condon has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Inprint. Her recent poems appear in or are forthcoming from Narrative Magazine, Indiana Review, Four Way Review, and elsewhere. Katie received her MFA from the University of Houston, and is currently a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, where she serves as a Poetry Editor for Grist Journal.