178 – Berth

Berth

It’s a gift my grandaddy gives
standing Navy-broad
in my dark berth bulkheading

tattooed arms anchored
at his chest so thick
before two packs a day
and chemo

he drank it down drudging
a failing Catholic, Christ,
alms and amen

his horseman years long gone
barroom brawls and the scars
they garnered for other men

I get all this by luck
and certain tilt of star
blood bubbling up

bending in the irons slight
those nights become these
we’ll meet on a quay

settling our sea legs under us
he’ll call me sailor, or son,
I’ll be sure to call him Sir

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