St. Clair River
He was at the wheel of the Smith
that day in Port Huron
when the bow got caught in the current,
pushing it into the path
of a downbound steamer.
A few weeks later,
he heard a barber speak of guilt
as though it were an insect.
Endless stridulation, he thought,
as the barber tilted the razor
away from the lump near his throat.
That summer was full of unsteerable days
stitched together with the relentless rasp
He saw in the bodies of brown field crickets
the hulls of tiny ships
and heard in their rubbing body parts
the ceaseless grind of metal on metal.
He spent nights on his porch drinking Stroh’s,
trying to steer the sounds of insects
away from the home where his son slept
beneath deep blue blankets,
and where his wife drifted in cool sheets,
her hair fanned around her
as though underwater.
He thought everything was sinkable,
and never heard the music
of what was still afloat.
Reprinted with permission from Harborless by Cindy Hunter Morgan, Wayne State University Press © 2017.