Lately it appears the water
has been waiting for us to keep trying
to make it across. The rivers
and trenches glossed with light
know we are so relentless as to plan
for catastrophe, layering backup
upon reserve. A pilot could suffer
an aneurysm mid-flight and pass
quietly without panic in the cabin,
his crew gathering themselves to
drape him across the floor. A flock
of geese might cascade into our engines
and still the plane will float its way
downstream towards the Battery.
Nightfall: pirate boy steps off the pier &
into the thick flashes of the newsmen
not at all like the others who hang their
coats from their foreheads or hood their faces
before hearings. He is smiling broadly
upon first meeting a mustered crowd lit
scattershot by the gaffers & grip crews.
Better to be here on this continent
of oaths & anthems & spit than a body
washed ashore, pockets stuffed with ransom?
is what they want to ask him as one, fit
voice—better alive, mocked by frogmen & our
sharpshooters than tagged & shelved in the holds
of a frigate moored off the coast of home?
Come see R.A. Villanueva along with poets April Heck, Natalie Diaz, and Ocean Vuong read at the AAWW this Thursday, November 21 at 7pm. Read April Heck’s poem “9/11/11,” published in The Margins.