Sea’s rough cradle rocks the deck.
He’s setting the cook’s cracked tibia.
Offers his patient the Jack Daniels
that never showed on the manifest.
Pulls a swig himself—steadies
the grip. Under his breath suggests
the cook better hold still, bite your lip,
and lines distal up with proximal.
He’s home. Another plum tree’s died.
He stands by it, lets a hand rest
on a bough, sighs They were sweet,
memory’s juice in his throat.
Well before light he steps out
in a haze that passes for clear night
in our age. He emanates soft radiation—
most escapes toward the stars,
the ozone reflects back a fraction,
and of that some tiny percentage
wafts through your chest, lifts a few
prayer flags hung from your ribs.
He taps a hand drum to his mother
island occasional nights.
The goat whose skin’s stretched
to its wooden ring hears. Yes,
you’re part of this, he murmurs,
hardly a displacement of Adam’s
apple or lips. He is quiet
about it, not secret. We know
what he whispers. So do the maple
leaves in November’s wind. He’ll see
their swirl in your eye. His eye speaks.
The dark in you listens.