Lee Shore

Out of the harbor
Beyond the lighthouse’s restless red eye
Running south in the dark
Just ticking over at fifteen hundred rpm
Walking right into the ocean’s jab
We both got our eyes on the gauge
His mittened hand on the throttle
Waiting till she’s warm enough to open up

From time to time He’ll scrape a circle out of the frost
On the inside of the cabin window
Poke the spotlight round
Watch the waves rise up against our bows
He’s braced against the wheel
I’m shifting side to side
Riding the waves
It’s three hours to sunrise and
Not a blip on the radar’s ghostly sweep
Cold comfort for company again Ben, He says,
Looks like we’re the only boat out.
He nods when He says that
I don’t even need to look to feel it

Two hours out.
10 degrees below the doughnut,
the late night DJ on the radio calls out.
what does he know
of coffee in a thermos flask
and timing sips
to match the ocean’s heave
of the harsh rattle of salt spray
and icing up heavy

We slide into the last lee shore this side of the North Atlantic
Go any further, He says, and we’ll have to run
clear and around Africa to find a lee.
So we idle back to stay in this small pocket of calm
And wait
We take turns
dipping our hip booted feet in the hot water barrel
Maybe we’ll get half a chance after the tide turns
Maybe the wind’ll drop when the sun comes up
I’d rather be beat with a wooden lath than turn back, He says.

Back at the wharf
Old Morris is standing by the one grimy window
Looking south
Knitting heads for traps
and pockets for bait
Out of the stiff poly twine
waiting for us.
When we rumble in out of the dark
Big diesel throttled back
And the surge of reverse
Finishes rocking the float
He’ll weigh our lobsters
And we’ll grin wide enough
To split our wind blasted faces
Only boat out today Dickie, says Old Morris
And He nods
And I don’t even need to look to feel it