Notes from the Morning Ferry

Note: I wrote this my senior year of high school. I was homeschooled but took classes at the community college in my last year on island. I was 17. I was ready to go.

“Welcome to the Washington State Ferries
may I have your attention please
this is an important safety message.”

Morning rose like a drunken businessman, briefcase in hand.

The moon hides in a paler strip of sky
two fingers above the tree line.

“I like the way the light looks
in the morning, very soft”

The churning white of ferry backwash: envy

She has taken up knitting,
yanks her hair into a French braid bun
drinks caramel lattés by the wall heater
in pink high heels.

Pink buds peaked out in mid-January, eager faces at a window.

He barely tops the benches
strides the ferry in brown moccasins
smiling with half his front teeth.

Her fingers ache with winter
wedding band drops slightly closer to the bone.

The sound was a sleeping cheetah
waiting for the chase
and pounce of tomorrow’s storm.

They stand out like patches
of mold, on sourdough bread
everyone eats around them.

A log floats in the emerald lee of an island.

He stands, hands in pockets,
hunched into himself
but we offer no apologies.

“I always forget what I am going to say.”

He still wears his high school sweatshirt
specked with paint and sawdust.

Each breath is a fresh hope, dying.

He traces two fingers slowly
across his forehead, dusting
the walls of his mind.

“I have a half bottle of bourbon left over from the weekend.”

Which lies do we choose to accept?

They have placed cigarettes behind
their ears, will light
up as soon as we walk off.

There is a ritual in every ending.

“We are now arriving
at Friday Harbor all passengers
please disembark via the car deck.
Thank you.”


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