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About this Poem 

“‘Homeport’ comes from my current manuscript-in-progress, ‘Dots & Dashes,’ which serves as a sequel to my third book, Stateside. In Stateside, I examined my experiences as a Navy wife, looking at the before, during, and after of a deployment. This new book tries to find points of intersection between military personnel and (civilian) creative writers, two communities that sometimes struggle to find a common language.”
Jehanne Dubrow


Even on weekends the cruiser 
            would shudder, flicker spaces
                      with a redorange blink,

then a gasket crack or a valve stick shut
as if by weather or malicious hands,
                      the engine room home

            of all catastrophe.

                      I would stretch and reach
across the bed to find furrowed sheets
where my husband had slept until 3 a.m.,

when he answered the captain calling,
            whose perpetual fury machine
was the only system that never broke,

and my husband would yessir to him
who was steamingmad on the ship,
before slipping into the chill of coveralls,

the blueblack uniform of service,
            which in a certain light
                      had the confining fit of love.

Copyright © 2015 by Jehanne Dubrow. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 19, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Jehanne Dubrow. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 19, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Jehanne Dubrow

Jehanne Dubrow

Jehanne Dubrow is the author of four poetry collections, including most recently Red Army Red (TriQuarterly Books, 2012) and Stateside (TriQuarterly Books, 2010). She is director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and an associate professor of creative writing at Washington College, where she edits the national literary journal, Cherry Tree.

by this poet

For weeks, I breathe his body in the sheet
	and pillow. I lift a blanket to my face.
There’s bitter incense paired with something sweet,  	
	like sandalwood left sitting in the heat	
or cardamom rubbed on a piece of lace. 
	For weeks, I breathe his body. In the sheet	
I smell anise, the musk that we secrete
He kisses me before he goes. While I,
still dozing, half-asleep, laugh and rub my face

against the sueded surface of the sheets,
thinking it’s him I touch, his skin beneath

my hands, my body curving in to meet
his body there. I never hear him leave.

But I believe he shuts the bedroom door,
as though unsure if

Squint a little, and that’s my husband
           in the photograph, the sailor on the left—
the one wearing a rose composed of ink
           and the Little Bo Peep who stands
before a tiny setting sun and the blur
           on his forearm which might be a boat—
while the sailor on