When I arrived at The Captain's house
he was polishing his infidelities.
This he liked to do before a return
to sea. The infidelities, which rested
high on a shelf, had mainly been buffed
to a fierce sheen, except for the newest ones,
buxom and panting, still a bit tarnished
around the ham hocks. The Captain, humming
a self-inflicted shanty, greeted me
with the flat of his saber, per the norm.
His beard was coming in nicely, I noted.
I asked whether he might like to attend
a mixed martial arts bout, but he was
busy packing a bag with his asthma
inhaler and photos of his pen pal.
To have such rugged dominion over
man and vessel, I thought, settling into
The Captain's beanbag chair. His captain's chair
was verboten, strewn as it was with slacks
that still needed ironing. The infidels
were already burnished, and the fiddles.
The sea would heave a bit, like the bosom
of a lovestruck barmaid, and barnacles
would ornament the hull. Not everyone
has his sea legs yet, which is why I hang back
to collect the mail and water the plants.
DanPinkerton lives in Urbandale, Iowa. New work of his has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Rhino, Canteen, Pleiades, and Barrow Street.
Illustration by Meghan Murphy.