A Visiting Aircraft Carrier

By William Doreski

A visiting aircraft carrier

hogs our entire harbor.

Atomic powered, self-contained,

this traveling monument demands

our full attention and respect.

Hundreds of sailors dangle

from ropes, drop into the water,

swim to shore to share their lust

with the town’s arrogant daughters.

Too blonde and voracious to waste

their effects on underpaid swabbies,

these young women knot together

and snicker with ironic grins.

The rest of us gaze like turtles,

amazed that so bulky a ship

could maneuver into a harbor

barely adequate for a few yachts.

The gray sweep of the bow rises

in curves plotted to suggest

nothing below the waterline.

The flight deck overhangs like

the brim of a Stetson. Too high

for the naked eye to honor,

flags wrinkle in a silver wind.

The problem with this picture

is that we have no harbor; our town

lies eighty miles inland. Perhaps

the carrier sluiced up our river,                            [stanza break]

barely a hundred feet wide. Perhaps

many helicopters placed it here

to intimidate the populace.

I want to ask fellow townsfolk

if this incongruity exists

only in my mind, but everyone’s

having such a good time, the shadow

of the huge ship warming everyone

like an electric blanket,

the sailors already raving drunk,

the daughters already naked,

and way up there, tiny on the bridge,

the admiral pointing down at me,

smiling with hearty rebuke.

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His

work has appeared in various journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson,

Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A

Black River, A Dark Fall.