On the lighted dock, I wait for the ferry
that will take me across the Hudson. Yangtze. Styx.
All these rivers have no lid. Why not jump in
and swim back to that place? We came from
the water. A slow pour of pu’er—crimson brew.
Dried leaves brick flowering. Steam licking
off the top of my cup. The tea steeping, darkened
into night, into shadows that will never sink
into themselves. This is the last boat home,
the captain says, his voice rattling over the intercom.
I give him my ticket and lean over the rail.
I watch the land pull back and the lovely city
disappear from sight. My grandmother cannot sleep
in an empty house. My mother cannot sleep
when her mind is in flight. That metal is built
into this vessel. The only escape is to abandon ship.