POETRY: John 21 by Katherine James

John 21 by Katherine James

Poignant musht
in a balm of fishy-charcoal,
sand still cold
from the night.

The charred wood
could write volumes on the hearts
of 12, no, 11 men in tunics,
veins busting from skin salty
with ocean and sweat.

The loved one cannot write
the words, though
try as he does. It’s the smell
of morning and the peopled
wooden boat that prevent him;
anything white becomes
radiant in early dawn.

He hangs back
and listens to words
exchanged that will travel
centuries, and even then settle uneven
in the hearts of men.

It’s all too wonderful
to expect such things,
but he must,
so he chooses the
third person

as though he were someone else.

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