Poetry

Shipfitters

October 01, 2004
It's a matter of concern to me that Leonardo's
Angels—who are so beautiful—are inadequately
provided with wings by the curious master.
Surely Leonardo knew they couldn't arrive here
to pray, or point, or weep, or at the end
save themselves from fire, by the means depicted.
 
It's also a matter of concern to me that Midge Berger,
wife of Ben Berger who owned the Mpls. Lakers,
played a good game of golf despite a tic
over her left eye (which raised her handicap),
and that Ben, a short man, liked to be photographed
next to George Mikan (7'2"), whom he hired for the purpose.
 
Midge was best friend of Beatrice, my mother.
Both girls are dead now. But it's still a matter of
concern to me that Ben and Midge went to China
in 1951 and that Midge carried back in her lap
(28 hours, PANAM) a model river boat, a "junk,"
as a present for Beatrice, empress of Mpls.
 
and its streams. The boat was made by learned felons
in Nanking prison on the Yangste, all dead,
but in their time they knew how to make a boat.
They would have been loftsmen, welders, riveters,
anglesmiths, flange turners, and the like. Look how
the hull, the spars, the sails, etc. are clearly right!
 
They were competent men. They knew how boats work.
I said to myself: "That will be my death-ship,
when it comes time."—And now wind rises.
The tide is at flood. The great green sails set
downstream, toward the harbor busy with trade.
The winds shift offshore.—Friends. Be thou assured!
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