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.