Speak of departure where ships
rest near piers like husbands next to wives,
quelling the night. And between each,
a plank, balanced like an arm, where tides
goad the fragile grip. And some nights,
nothing in the harbor grips,
except the plank with creaking reach;
the moon with cold and fading light.
We never talk about departure;
how what erodes must always find the sea.
Now, between us, water falsely stirs;
tending lines strain and the engines lure.
A ship, a pier, cannot each other be.
O my pier, grasp the shore, then cling to me.
Philip Venzke grew up on a dairy farm near Colby, Wisconsin (where Colby cheese was invented). His most recent poems have appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Echoes, The Wisconsin Poets Calendar, Sheepshead Review, Illumen, Thunderclap! Magazine, and Right Hand Pointing.