All that summer you could spot him
in cutoffs wandering the sands. Something
wasn’t right. When they slapped him on deck
like some crucified tuna we said as much.
Below, he had curled in a manger of seaweed,
having sprang from the prow to search
the soft bay floor, bringing up junk (a steel
box, some rope, a corroded picture frame)
he had chucked atoningly overboard some-
time after the divorce. Treasure he called it.
All afternoon he forsook us among the
coughing engines, his rump turning and
turning the cold water, finding himself
slowly less at home up top. Each vanishing
thinned our laughter, fomenting the repeat-
miracle of his drenched head splitting the calm.
Cloud. Bird. Sail. We saw him for the last time
near the slip. He sent up a few bubbles, then
swam to the dinghy, very quiet-like. We thought
he was clowning. But the silence rippled
along the pier and the scant Christmas lights
until they fished him out. His tummy full of vodka.
His beard still clutching its share of ocean.