Samantha Taylor

Ghost Fleet of the Outerbanks

When our one soft ship
finally surrenders
to its impossible bottle,
the summer ending
with a queer, porous cap-
the road back
is just an
alibi for daydream.

Green, forgotten towns
bellow out and shade my storm
eye swarm of pure remembering,
callous stretches of highway
scrape like fingernails
through the hot clay sunset.

Any other hour of the day and this
could be an other ride, an other girl.

It takes weeks for the ocean to ebb
from flesh and bone.
Salt heat parasites have splayed
the hems of my garments,
gorged on firewood and sand burn, new
skin has turned to hide and
seeks to keep you
as unending
as the clever, loyal tide.

Soon enough, the only story to tell
will be one of the light in our stilt house;
tempered, mercurial, a golden echo of the
wave swell, setting everything to flame-
then suddenly, as though heartsick
the walls sunk in, pallid and dim
the water raging behind a fringe of dunegrass
set to gate its violent, gray body
lawless and thick.

If it had been any other light
it could be an other story, an other you.

See that.
That of the ivory wave claws,
the throbbing sea foam halo
and the phosphorescence,
I cannot strain you out.

The clause of you incomplete
without the clapboards, the meaning
marred without our mona lisa fish,
not quite smiling but following us
with her godly eye,
the roping tangle of my hair
without a sea spray
will turn to silt in your
roving hands.

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