Francis Santaquilani


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Sailing On


He's in this room?

He's not being rocked
Side to side.
He's so pale.
He was so brown and
Often red. Strange
To not see him under
The sun, moon and stars.

A white blanket over him.
White sheets under him.
His head floats on a white pillow
Like a fish head on a cushion of
The whitest sea foam.
All of its color washed out to sea.

The wrinkles on his face and neck
And the crinkles around his eyes
Seem ironed out by this artificial light.

His mouth is closed, and
Not singing
To compete with the gulls
And the waves.

They're silenced now too
Behind the thick glass.

He would've liked this view of the bay.
The gulls fade away into
The gray after a quick fly by
Of the large window to his room.

They seem to know he's not coming back.
The sea seems to have lost interest
In the shore.

A couple of inches above
His feeding tube
The mermaid on his arm is
Dead in the water. A lifeless
Blue and red blob adrift in white water.

He's never
Getting back his sea legs,
Is he?

His lips clamp down on
A moist sponge lowered
To his mouth. It's just reflex,
Isn't it?

His soul has sailed on,
Hasn't it?


The white blanket over him
Gently rises and falls. Beneath it
His heart still sails along.

Submitted: Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Edited: Monday, December 12, 2011

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