Your chest too steep
thinning out: each breath
heated the way an iron bell
inflates itself for lift off, half rope
half aching from rust
and stars rowing a small boat

--even in sunlight you won't unbutton
joke how once the jacket
was a younger blue, had a place to go
seaman 1st class! and the sea's tight fit

--with such a fever
and you tie down its collar--who knows
the sea probably still has waves
every one good as a name
and this wool stays dark with seawater
with sleeves slide to side
sifting your chest for rope

for wind chimes lashed to an anchor
and winter--you try to cough
over and over and with each finger
almost salt, almost waves rowing wild
almost the drowned, lifted and warmed.

Simon Perchik