Aaron Belz


We sailed from Portsmouth toward
the Northern Lights in 1987
but once we hit the high seas the jib ripped
and we found the ship was rigged.

In my mind I heard the sound
of a cat eating paper in another room,
for I was uncomfortable with our sense of lostness,
or more so with my sense of incompetence to the task.

I crawled down into the captain's cabin
and flipped off the Macintosh and sat
there, as rain gusted from faraway ports,
and somewhere cupboard doors banged.

Broken, broken, I cried.
Then I prayed, and my spirit developed
wings of fire, and all my disciples
gathered around me. "Men," I began.

"We need to get home. Someone grab me a 7-UP.
Wallace?" Immediately the very men
I half-distrusted clicked into action
as though sovereignly predestined to do so,

Wallace to the Coke machine, Thomas
to lock the cupboards, and Brent to the crow's nest.
That was a wonderful morning I'll not soon forget,
though since then I have become buried

in grief again, sprawled on a futon in a ramshackle
flat in Portsmouth, dishwasher gurgling,
dryer ticking, and the answering machine blinking
its little heart out. Perhaps it is Laura

reminding me we have tickets to "Follies on Ice"
tonight at the ArenaDome. Maybe Sid will join us.