Today's poem is by Natasha Saje


An ocean liner. The other passengers everyone
I love or might have loved, and in the center of the ship
a library with mahogany tables. Cats

curled on open periodicals. No fleas.
Pellegrino in the fountains, and Gertrude Stein
lecturing about the art

of being dead. Walks with Mary Shelley.
Mary, I say, where's the creature?
When the new books arrive, we differ

politely over who gets what. But wait—
with a few improvements this could be
an artist's colony, and with a few more

my life. I know I am lucky
to do what I love, but I yearn for time—
time as a river of milk whose blankness stretches

over my body strong enough to climb
Mt. Olympus. I'm remembering Norman
on Majorca, Norman who dropped out of Madison Avenue

in the '60s, who let me buy him
a rare steak for a watercolor of a bullfight.
Me, twenty-two with a backpack and Swiss francs,

and Norman, fifty-five, with a wide grin, missing
teeth. He quoted Marx, and Henry George,
The durability of the means of production is a great

part of its use value; private land enslaves
the working class.
In heaven, work and play
will be woven of the same

endless silk. And when we sail
from the shore where busy hands
sew flags and signal

frantically? We'll turn away
from the rails on this ship
powered by the heat of our souls.

Copyright © 2002 Natasha Saje All rights reserved
from The Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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