Sea Legs

Dan Pinkerton


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.

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