balcony sunset


Imagine sailing on this ship for years

not with Odysseus in mind, with no impressive plan,

no urgent quest, just nothing better to do


than watch the silvered wake and an inflamed

star sink each night. The staff wear white, serve

politely and leave a chocolate on the bed.


The only plants endure in plastic, the only birds

are pale scavengers that soar without singing

and the only insects are long-winged flies

Cruise ship, storm, St Petersburg
Cruise ship, storm, St Petersburg

that stick to the portholes and a large

green dragonfly that buzzes as it flies upside-

down into the sunbeds ringing the pool.


The only moments of complete rest

are the infrequent docking, roped to terra firma

refueling heavy oil, loading the luxury victuals.

St Petersburg, early morning
St Petersburg, early morning


We left the dead back in St Petersburg.

Younger than me, he suddenly slumped

in his seat, his wife cried out, ‘Oh no,


don’t do this to me now.’ But his lips

were already turning blue, he was certain

and the sullen crowd kept moving down Nevsky Prospekt.


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