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.
“‘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.”