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.