The 2River View 21.4 (Summer 2017)

Matthew Dobson

The Boat

          THE BOAT appears unexpectedly in the traffic… a white vagabond.
          Tomas Tranströmer

When I came to the city centre,
a boat glided
from behind the mall.

It was large and white with no crew,
only the ferryman's shadow
flitting up there,
and a ladder hanging from the side. 

I had dreamt of this. 
The shoppers walked around it,
eyes on their screens
or each others' eyes.
One or two put their hands on the ladder
and climbed up. 

The boat barely rocked. 
It was more an iceberg: so white
it was blue,
so pure it hurt to look at,

and most of it below street-level
like when you put your hand to your face

and imagine the skull, the icy contours,

like when you put your hand to your face
and feel it going cold,


He sank one at the bar,
a whisky, neat.

Then watched flies shuffle
along the baize,

through the stains, sweet and tacky
like last week

when he’d grabbed at the brakes,
let the gears shift

until they tipped into gorse,
just blossoming. 
And sparks flowered
when the circular saw
sliced them out. 

He heard blood
slide down his bedroom walls,

sluice through floorboards,
and every stain he saw
was hers.

Matthew Dobson teaches English at a boarding school in England.  He has been writing for a few years, and has been published in Acumen, Neon, Rat's Ass Review, and elsewhere.

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