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  • Out of the harbor
    Beyond the lighthouse’s restless red eye
    Running south in the dark
    Just ticking over at fifteen hundred rpm
    Walking right into the ocean’s jab
    We both got our eyes on the gauge
    His mittened hand on the throttle
    Waiting till she’s warm enough to open up

    From time to time He’ll scrape a circle out of the frost
    On the inside of the cabin window
    Poke the spotlight round
    Watch the waves rise up against our bows
    He’s braced against the wheel
    I’m shifting side to side
    Riding the waves
    It’s three hours to sunrise and
    Not a blip on the radar’s ghostly sweep
    Cold comfort for company again Ben, He says,
    Looks like we’re the only boat out.
    He nods when He says that
    I don’t even need to look to feel it

    Two hours out.
    10 degrees below the doughnut,
    the late night DJ on the radio calls out.
    what does he know
    of coffee in a thermos flask
    and timing sips
    to match the ocean’s heave
    of the harsh rattle of salt spray
    and icing up heavy

    We slide into the last lee shore this side of the North Atlantic
    Go any further, He says, and we’ll have to run
    clear and around Africa to find a lee.
    So we idle back to stay in this small pocket of calm
    And wait
    We take turns
    dipping our hip booted feet in the hot water barrel
    Maybe we’ll get half a chance after the tide turns
    Maybe the wind’ll drop when the sun comes up
    I’d rather be beat with a wooden lath than turn back, He says.

    Back at the wharf
    Old Morris is standing by the one grimy window
    Looking south
    Knitting heads for traps
    and pockets for bait
    Out of the stiff poly twine
    waiting for us.
    When we rumble in out of the dark
    Big diesel throttled back
    And the surge of reverse
    Finishes rocking the float
    He’ll weigh our lobsters
    And we’ll grin wide enough
    To split our wind blasted faces
    Only boat out today Dickie, says Old Morris
    And He nods
    And I don’t even need to look to feel it
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