Friday, December 22, 2017



                     Bay City, Michigan

Know this: the boats you made
actually go places; hollowed clanking

of watery chambers, piping and rust
on blue for a reason. My grandfather,

painting hulls, glancing at his reflection
in portholes on Destroyer escorts,

adjusting bow thruster and trawl crane,
leaning against well walls at lunch—

I’m told I look like him, that I carry
a similar silence though sometimes he hit

my mother and gardened instead of wrote.
His hands roughed the bowed shells

of frigates before lacquering them,
perhaps even the RV Knorr, the ship

that discovered the wreck of the Titanic.
Housed the scientists who discovered

the wreck, the vessel a tinny jumble
that could have been made anywhere

but was assembled here by car mechanics
and line workers to meander through Thunder

Bay and gasp at the Atlantic. Bay City:
you are now a scrapyard, Defoe Shipbuilding

company sold and resold, soldering tools
cast into the dusking Huron Basin.

Before he died I captained the clacking
vessel of my skateboard around his block,

discovered new ways to be bored,
to owe myself to the scientists alive

at twilight before curfew that could
call me by both hull name and number,

and had enough of a particular kind
of grace to let some things stay unfound.


Jess Williard’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, North American Review, Colorado Review, Southern Humanities Review, Sycamore Review, Lake Effect, Borderlands, Oxford Poetry, and other journals. He is from Wisconsin.


We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.

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