Submissions: Instructions for the Reader

sailaway

Instructions for the Reader

Go down to the New London cove,
to the docks; you must let the water
rock that rubber platform underfoot,
mother to child, sway; you must watch
as the night swallows Groton cross the
way, still your breath as the city flares
in great resistance, all aglow to fight
that liquid dark, and stay, stay until it
seems the turbid night would fade away

The sea will become mirror, watch, and
the glare will become circumference, will
burn its shape right into evening; and you
must bear witness to this, as I did, bear the
heft of Groton’s twilight war; and go in the
company of sisters, brothers, lovers; go even
when you know the memory of that marvel
may one day be all that remains of you and
your chosen partner, once you’ve parted

In fact, go especially then, knowing the
ephemeral truth, and go even if the
gleaming scene becomes a simile, as it
did for me, and it will: at one point, we
all must learn what it is to come alight like
the city, to pretend our golden hour’s
still in bloom, even though the darkness
has long since come.

The beauty is in the
battle: we refuse to be swallowed up. And
eventually, the sun returns and returns again,
following our torches, our city lights, and
we have won ourselves another day.

Castle Yuran is an MFA graduate from Goddard College, professional writing tutor at Northwest Connecticut Community College, and English teacher at Post University. This poem comes from her MFA thesis collection entitled, Home is a Road.

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