Mennonite Poetry Home | Leonard Neufeldt




Rainbow rooster tails, the silence
of colour shedding itself
everywhere in the sea’s aftermath
of light: whale spouts that hold you
and your wife at the deck-rail’s white
despite three calls for dinner
as you sail through the Gulf
of St. Lawrence, coming home,
hunger’s expectations gone
with the first vague shimmer of land.
You want to stay here, at sea
on the promenade deck to watch each
iridescence find that moment where
it’s sheared off in thin air, vanishes,
but the image remains

When the ship blurted its full-throat
groans and left the Rotterdam
shipping lanes behind as afterthoughts
a woman in underwear rose
from her deck chair and leaned on the rail —
no more Russkie — stepped backwards,
reached down hand over hand behind her
to find her dress as the brass ensemble
broke out a waltz on the deck below

A monstrous blue shadow defines its edges
in sliding by, flukes almost at rest,
like a wistful eye that has you following
back to the Atlantic,
and you know if you returned
it would no longer be as a guest
uninvited by a year or more on
the Continent with vacations in Cornwall
and the Lake Country. Suddenly,
I know you didn’t want to leave;
forgive me for voting the way I did,
but I think it’s right for both of us —

the breeze stiffening my wife’s hair,
the air changing as if a door has closed,
behind us diners in formal dress
strolling by, the sea silvering,
the way we’ve come turning black

©Leonard Neufeldt. Cede Poetry. Vol. 2 (2016). 




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