Today's poem is by Sandra Beasley

Sestina Inviting My Sister to Become a Pirate

We wake to breakfast in a burning house,
Mom cussing. Our eggs have embers in them.
Fly the black flag on this family again.
I'll wear the eye patch, you will thread a ring
through your ear. Now, let us head out to sea.
Let all the Atlantic try to douse us.

You have to remember that they love us.
Burying a hatchet's harder than razing a house,
and raising a child is hardest. The sea
can lift bottle, barrel, ship. But for them
to keep this marriage afloat will take ring
and pulley that could raise Atlantis again,

with God shouldering the rope. Once again,
pegleg life is better balanced for us.
Parents? We'll take parrots. Choose a skull ring
set with rubies, grog-soaked night-jigging, house
boys to swab the deck. Fellow mates. To them,
it's clear we were always meant for the sea.

Monsoons, I know. We could go down at sea.
Captains blue- and black-bearded, drunk again,
might mutter that we're just wenches to them,
prod us with swords. But I'd rather see us
walk a plank than back into this damn house.
So what if Dad has lost his wedding ring?

So what that his story has a familiar ring?
Oh, my darling buccaneer, don't you see?
Burying a hatchet's easier than burying a house,
burying a treasure easier again—
all the same day's worth of digging to us.
If their smiles glitter like doubloons, let them.

But then lock the chest tight. We can love them
in the leaving, as galleons love moorings
of harbors they may yet come home to. But for us,
for now, no X can compete with the sea,
cross-stitching white caps again and again.
I believe a dank cabin beats a house

ablaze. I believe we can beat them, that the sea
offers vows sacred as rings. I won't ask again.
Join us. I'll wait in a rowboat, by the lighthouse.

Copyright © 2005 Sandra Beasley All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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