One or another of my aunts, your daughters, told us the story:
how you had your sons climb on the kitchen table and jump
on your promise you’d catch them. Let that be a lesson,
you told the bewildered boys, never trust anyone,
not even your father. Your own mother sent overboard
at Cape Horn, your first breath drawn in these dark waters.
I stand to the wheel, close-braced inside myself,
a wall of great rollers thundering past, and some deep cold
is in me as the Horn recedes; my eyes are wet with salt
but I am unmoved as you were. I see now what made
you do it, I see what you saw. There was love, I do not doubt it,
before and after, but there is a time to see things as they are.
I stand on into the long night beside you, shoulder to shoulder.