Tucked into bunk under brown plaid blanket, long-light still silvering on. Late. Running east of sea ice into fog and tomorrow’s hope: no bears on shore. Waft of bad plumbing, ship-sounds, then
night yowled open
a woman’s fear echoing
down dim companionway
Bolt up. M & I stare though dim at each other, listen for another. Another comes. Language foreign to me but tone clear. Legs swung, feet planted, shoes, jacket pulled on in after-silence. Open the door. No other door opens. Step out. No other door. Mascara-streaked crewmember in torn sweats. Man in boilersuit walking away—seaman? engineer?—a glare before gone. Usher her back to our cabin. Calm. Calm. Calming. Then she wants to leave. Leaves. Across hall, Expedition Leader cracks open his door, asks what, says he’ll talk to Captain. But but but but given culture & policy, if sent home contract is broken & she’ll have to swallow ticket fare. She stays. Him? Him? Two look alike, blue-eyed, buzz-cut, and I can’t tell.
who’s on crane, tanking gas, catching my bow
in rough swell at side gate
who is watching