Aeolian Blues

The ferry chuffed with a lyrical rhythm
but I found myself blowing chunks
off starboard into churning green
and gray. The islands looked like
donkeys in the distance and then
like elephants as we drew closer.
My mouth tasted of squid and a lemon
Lifesaver I popped before departure.
The ironies never escaped me, even
as a tourist with no tolerance for turbulence.

A man with a face by Tintoretto
told me that his feet were cold and that
he wondered would I trade my shoes
for his. Nord Americano, he said, pointing
at my green-piped black Nike Jokers.
I glanced at his delicate maroon scarpini
and scoffed. His resulting anger
dissipated quickly when a second generation
of nausea prompted another seizure of puking.
Meanwhile the islands were dinosaurs now.

And rain had started falling, difficult
to capture as the ferry steamed ahead;
but the gray waters dimpled and mist
glazed the envelope of our continuum.
The Tintoretto man draped a blue plastic
sheet over his head and slumped against
the port rail—a pricked magic bubble ball.
I staggered and wove to the latrines
where men stood like statues around
a gushing trough, holding their equipment.

I am not well, friends. I say it plainly.
I mentally compose this as we approach
the islands—the small one, the big one,
and the one between them where giants
reputedly once ruled though the search
for their artifacts has never yielded anything
and yet has never ceased, despite its futility.
But the same can be said of all searches,
all voyages and all yearning for something
solid and still to rest your head upon.

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