Wake, by Kevin Oberlin

by Kevin Oberlin

“Only one ship is seeking us, a black-/Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back/A huge and birdless silence.” –Philip Larkin

For us no black-sailed ship, whose tattered hull
our final lighthouse passes, dull as hope.
We are too proud perhaps to deny the myth
of our children warmly wrapped like husks around us,
our small and satisfactory legacies.
They cry with well-educated grief,
sweetly spoiling themselves on our remains,
the beneficiaries of daffodils,
the honest wage, the savings held in stocks.
Perhaps we were confused by the abrupt
foundering that left us heirless, mattress cold,
shy cash, and short on instinct. We know
there must have been some soft turning point
that would have lifted the burden of our beliefs.
We were not failed. No chance deserted us.
No black-sailed ship when we expected white,
but this raft, our arms against the current,
the slick logs separating beneath.

Kevin Oberlin is the author of one chapbook, Spotlit Girl (2008, Kent State UP). His poems have appeared recently in The London Reader, Ghost Proposal, Roanoke Review, and PacificREVIEW. He lives in Cincinnati without incident.

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