Jack Ross Knutson


Muscled were the men with fingers fat of work and veins 
Vein-gnarled on the knuckles of leather and glass
Their barnacled hands and the face as hard as a leather brick with 
a summer smile, wrinkled weathered sun dried apricot skin
Tender as a child's cry, rough as a sand papered punch on the chin
Yes, with their leather lungs loaned for a brief asbestos life time 
Heartbeat measured against a mind of love dedication, lean life of 
Loneliness, longing on every longitude
Blood on the deck and sperm on paid sheets, sailed on hard
Winds, paid for a pained pair of love, price paid parenthetically
Mutually no words, no wind, no breath but your own and hers for whom you 
Wished and loved to love and heave with hands of ropes, lines and knots,
Wrinkled like sails echoed in a metal deck 
The cast iron morning after a wrought iron mooring, deck kisses of seas and grasps
of shark skin gunnel, a starved life raft man and a poor yellow skin beauty
Rambunctious in affection with love and money white on brown and black yellow
Green and fallow as true love itself
There were ice mornings, stomach empty days, nicotine nights
Fickle sea, friendly foes 
Raging like an aging child and you alone, counting the broken fingers like 
Coins in a fountain 
Every day a memory of what never happened, 	
Silent knights that raged like
Time’s last blast
Life itself in the cup of those hands, your hands
Branded in the back of broken vertebrae
Aged like a beetle in the back room of a bar
I saw a light in the sea, it begged my name and I refused
It was the voice of every woman I ever loved or could
I walked on the sand of the callow sea
And felt between my toes the memory of memory grinding my flesh, sharp
And then I knew love and blessed every sea for its dry kiss