The Long Night Watch

by Robert Frazier

Defrosted for my turn at helm
For the millennium of a ship’s year
The blood factory in my flesh
Beats but can’t achieve rhythm
Circadian blueprints feel cast off
Like a message bottled on the tides

Our vessel seems locked in irons
Fixed against a fixed canvas of stars
The compass of her great engines
Won’t sense direction
Only a steady forward purpose
Such a poor consolation for this soul

Thus I obsess on video clips of birds
Migrating across a featureless ocean
Each eye each breast set on course
By the maps encoded in their heads
I pray my own magnetic fields entangle
And bring purpose to a heart adrift

Copyright © 2018 by Robert Frazier


Featured Poet of the Month  Robert Frazier

My father taught cryptography for Army Security after working with Turing’s bombe at Bletchley Park during WWII. My mother was an oil painter who studied with Emile Albert Gruppé in Rockport. The science of deciphering gibberish into plain text somehow meshes with impressionistic imagery in my writing. I live on Nantucket Island with my wife, Karol Lindquist, a nationally recognized basketmaker, while my daughter, Timalyne, was a graduate of Clarion West in 1995 (I was at Clarion ‘80). I am the author of nine books of poetry, and a three-time winner of the Rhysling Award. I have published over one hundred poems in Asimov’s.