Invincible Summer |||

An introduction to my father

We are all awash on a sea of blood
and the least we can do
is wave to each other

Steph, my love, here’s Dad
snapped at sixteen on Broadway
adrift in naval dress
thousands of miles from home

Ten blocks north another Limey
writes in a bar on 52nd Street 
“We must love one another or die.”

We must love one another or die 
and he nearly did die the night 
he saw the periscope, minutes 
before the ship sank, another 
failure of love. We are all awash 
on a sea of blood, all flags.

I am awash in his blood 
He survived to sire me 
another son of the ocean 
where the organs bask like seals 
and show me his Wavy Navy cap 
and the Nessie periscope photo

“Sweet Thames, flow softly 
while I sing my song”
Sweet Thames preserve us 
from the cold Atlantic run

The inland sea, incarnadine, connects 
the living and the dead 
Shades jostle on its shores 

He might have been safe 
on a cliffed coast, secured by our love 
but he wasn’t. The sea 
is always with us, and he sank

Love roots in grief 
for the drowned
who slipped out of sunlight

Shades crowd our hall
loiter in the bedroom 
haunt memory, join 
us to the million generations

Take hands in the dark 
flesh, dust and breath 
Enough of waving

Dad, here’s Steph, my love