Monday, May 23, 2011

The Captain

The Captain
Bradley McIlwain

The Captain, again,
has come and gone.

He has been here twice
in the last month,

each time his purpose
unknown –

and we have left empty

burning with the same
unanswered question,

each time, taking only
what you have to give.

I heard from your mouth
he was the lover no one

knew you had, not even
your daughter who was

baffled by your seventy
year silence,

left to wonder about her
legal birth.

We wondered if he died
in the war,

but you wouldn’t tell us;
only that he was coming

to take you away,
from that steel bed

and whitewashed walls;
when you were afraid to

fade out with the rest of
the furniture.

To this day I wonder
If he made it to your

deathbed, standing
there in uniform

with your luggage
and your boarding

waiting to take you

to the harbor.
No photograph

of him remained,
whose name you buried

with the dead;
and all his secrets

on your skin
were carried by the tide.


Bradley McIlwain is a Canadian-based writer and poet, who lives and works in rural Ontario. His works have appeared in Wanderings Magazine, New Verse News, Rope and Wire, Frostwriting, The Copperfield Review, and others. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in English Literature from Trent University. His first collection of poetry, Fracture, was published in 2010, and is available at Blurb.

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