And I want to say that the heart hangs there at the end of things

wavering a little a bit unsteady this vessel this hotel for transients

this lodge that takes the shape of a wasp’s nest paper and swaying

and I want to say hey listen to this my body is a tree full of branchings

full of venom hum and sting full of wild creatures hunger leaves

and leavings hey listen I say hold that soft nautilus ear just so

and you can hear this colony collapse all the tiny dyings can hear

this lantern hung hissing and unlit when a light deserts its wick

the heart goes dark the heart becomes just one more vessel waiting

to sail waiting for the wind to arrive listen to the word vessel

its desire its long desire to carry various cargoes its need to practice

departures hush now the sails are going up the sun is going down

the people on shore wave small scraps of fabric they’re white in the dusk

like wings they’re white in the dark like surrender

Leslie Harrison’s second book, The Book of Endings, is forthcoming from the University of Akron Press. She teaches and lives in Baltimore.

*Photo courtesy of Carol VanHook.