Prayer for Yemayá

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

I don’t currently want a man, just a boat;
so what I want is a man with a boat,
with the man as vessel.
Maybe I want something easy
that can give me something hard
to have right now, a boat,

though a boat is, too, a vessel—
well, what I truly want is closeness
to the ocean, to feel the waves thump
up the stern like bumper cars.
The ocean is a vessel
and a vessel is a vassal

state, a mythic castle dungeon
captive craving ocean-scale mercy,
that vastest human freedom felt
face-up, at rest, afloat.
A human is akin to a boat
and, too, an ocean: both vessel

on the salt expanse
plus water itself,
splash which fills our flesh
and the rest of all this.
In the want of ocean closeness,
the ocean is a vessel.

The ocean, in all its depths—
its sunfish, anglers, trenches—
has limits on what it will hold
of our pour. It sings blues of time
and its steady draining out.
What I truly want is to see the sea

and feel young, boy in a boardwalk
bumper car right above tides ablaze
in Ferris wheel glows.
The ocean is a vessel I want so badly
to feel young, like a fresh, light-soaked
oil painting, only no oil, no junk at all.