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
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.
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.