Lobster Boat at Camden, Maine, Robert Swanson (Ryssby), 2005, Wikimedia photo.
Lobster Boat at Camden, Maine, Robert Swanson (Ryssby), 2005, Wikimedia photo.

Where does the soul come from, or rather,
Where does it go? I know she has lost hers.
I can feel it in my bones, when we became too
Old to take care of each other, it was time to
Say goodbye to my Kathy Anne, a marriage of
Twenty years, steel and wood wed to flesh and
Bone, consecrated over Maine deep inlets and
Bays, lobster traps soaked and hauled.

Labor of love, Kathy Anne, plowed chop, Gulf
Of Maine, groaning on pitching seas, protesting
Freezing waves, diesel pushing on beam seas,
Zig-zag course as night fell, snow-heavy clouds
Scudding overhead, crashing foam-streaked
Waves into spray, bore-sighted on our lighthouse,
Radar plotting course home, bright reflected
Image of home buoys, their clanging bells.

How did Kathy Anne find her soul? Twenty-
Years at the wheel, lone sea driving, laid up
For diesel repairs, new paint, lettering, slowly
An inseparable union was formed, under a sunset
Only God could conceive, a finer part of me
Moved to her. I sensed it, as did she, when seas
Quickened, her diesel churned strong and
Faithful to and from perilous offshore deeps.

If I a wish could make, to unwind the years, I’d
Return to her, timeless unity, a peace where sea
Dangers lurked,  entwining boat and man, sun,
Moon, and stars, heavenly firmament, lobster
Taking, hard hauling, ever watching over me,
Kathy Anne, making a living on Maine waters,
Admiring rocky shores, hammered cliffs, mist-
Shrouded spruces above the everlasting sea.

Now a wheelchair I’m driving, my ocean glimpsed
Through curtained windows, antiseptic sunlight
Filtered by double glass panes, void of warmth or
Cold, as I drift off to sleep, I seek perpetual rocking
Waves, lifting tides, eternal strength that we are
Denied, for Kathy Anne is a hulk rotting like me,
Her paint peeling, metal rusting, batteries and
Diesel dead, her restless soul awaiting mine.

A recurring theme, ~325 poems earlier, see “Fishing Vessel Andrew”

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