Sea Shore

    Anne Perrella

After 28 days out in these blue mountains of water, you begin to dream of it, of how your legs will feel the ground move under them for awhile how the local beer will taste, how the women will smell, how they will look when they smile. North enough that the summer sun doesn't set, you stand on the deck alone at what passes for dawn here, and imagine what will poke up through the waves first: another ship, the top towers of a city, the tall fingers of a bridge.

What drags you out here every time? Why, after six weeks ashore, have you had enough? Is it that you run out of stories to tell the women; do they like them too much, and want to keep you too? Is the ocean your mother, your restless, changeable reason for being? Is this your cradle on the waves, slate gray, royal blue, or even pale silver when stilled with Arctic ice? Even hove-to in a storm, you'll eat your crackers and Dramamine, and know she'll change her mind again soon.

Or is it that out here, with only open ocean all around, with only sky everywhere, you know exactly where you are? That you could dive in and die in this watery infinity, anonymous and small, but free?

Too close to all these men, too long. The I-survived-a-sixty-degree-roll stories are getting old, the guy in the top bunk just ground his teeth in his sleep once too often, and he's whining again about his girlfriend, and whether she's really still waiting.

It's time. You're off watch, your best clothes are laid out, you took your Navy shower, the aftershave stings on your fresh-shaven face. You're thirsty. It's time to drink land for awhile.

In Posse: Potentially, might be ...