While You Are Not Obligated
Radiance Angelina Petro
(Using my own words as well as words
found in The Dictionary of Shipping Terms and Phrases,
by Edward F. Stevens, pub. 1947)
You are sufficient, seaworthy,
you have tendered time
its disbursements of grief,
your tears have perfected your sight
enough, you have recouped
the solvency of the spirit,
your manifest includes hope’s readiness.
Now, against all risk, enter outward,
for there is yet the safety of adventure,
and you now sail unenclosed waters.
Mooring ropes, as you know,
wear thin, and there are ships
drifting at sea, others are icebound,
nearly inaccessible, waiting
for the frost-feathered gull
to drop the notice of abandonment.
There are plenty of lighthouses along the shore.
What is needed are lightships willing
to take the lost alongside, to pass provisions,
to touch and stay, and lead them
to believe out of the starless night,
and into the harbor of taverns and song,
where they can, unladdened and free
of encumbrances, reinterpret themselves
back into the land of the living.