By Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Featured art: Eddystone Lighthouse by Mary Altha Nims 

As if love were a lighthouse and I
the creaking rain-lashed vessel

heaving through the waves.
In the wheelhouse, a heart

that refuses to give up, despite
sharp coral under surface churn

waiting to turn the boat
into a rusted hull the sun vermillions

each morning for photographers
who revel in the sea’s dominion.

I’m tired of chop but don’t remember
calm, the hatches battened down

so long they’re salted shut.
No, that’s not true. That’s someone

else’s story, not mine. I say,
for every hungry ghost in the hold,

ten thousand iron-spined sailors
with rope-calloused hands navigate

around the coral minefields, eyes
on the lighthouse, its revolving beam.

Marie-Elizabeth Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and co-editor with Annie Finch of the anthology Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2012). Her work has appeared in Calyx, Poet Lore, and RATTLE, among others. She is also a Relationship Alchemist, Coach, and Speaker and can be found at for that work.

Originally published in NOR 22.

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