Anchors hold ships still,
In the night. Ships shiver
In tilting water, but still,
Anchors hold them, in the night.
Lovers sleep soundly in ships
Even as the rocking of the ships
Shuffles their hair like cards.
Past lovers toss from side
To side under the ships,
But haven’t drowned:
They’re only grinding
With seaweed in their sleep.
If there were no anchors, the ships
Would drift far away and I would
Have nothing to see when I
Peek out the window. The ships
Would have been hypnotized by
The suggestions of waves
Tapping their sides, and drifted
Far out to sea where there
Are deep places to sink.
There are places deeper than
The farthest flight through the air,
Places so deep that
Nothing reaches the bottom,
Not even a coin thrown in
Hundreds of years ago
To make a wish.
The anchors live in blackness,
In a place deeper than shipwrecks,
But they are my friends
Because without them
Tides would have taken the ships
To islands I shouldn’t return to.
The ships would have been bashed
Against coastlines until
All that was left of them
Was flotsam drifting to places
Where no one remembers
The gracefulness of ships.