Megan Duffy Brown

WHICH BOAT

The foghorn bleats
its tenor warning
in the harbor
that confines us
to the West

a seal couple
rolls in synchrony
in the calm

when the park ranger
thwarts us
dark thoughts
well in me
I—the mouse
scurrying
from the hawk

at least I have a roof
and this page
a plan
to write a letter
to someone different
everyday

to my cousins
who just lost their father
to my niece newly born

to my uncle
who has a fever
and nine friends dead
from the virus

not long ago
my little boy
was on the heels
of ENT surgery
with painful scabs
in his throat

we were running
from a city menace then

my boyfriend
opened doors and arms

here he shelters us
on a hill
that overlooks
the Pacific

we teach our boy
simple math
tallying the passersby

daily
we watch
the sun rise and fall
in brilliant coral theater
over the ocean
and count ourselves
lucky

we look for the boat
my uncle will sail home on.

Dedicated to Charles Edward Richards, Jr. (July 22, 1938 – March 28, 2020)


A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, MEGAN DUFFY BROWN feels most at home near water. Her creative writing has been published by KQED Arts and in Forum Magazine and 580 Split. Her academic writing has been published by the Social Science Quarterly. When not writing poetry, she is listening to her young child tell jokes. She works at City College of San Francisco and lives on the coast.

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