Water-Gazers*

Elizabeth Schulz

USA

On the pier
in the harbour of Guinea-Bissau
on the coast of West Africa,
where cashews are shipped,
and cocaine arrives daily,
they wait through the day.

The woman in a long blue dress,
the man in a torn brown shirt,
the boy in untied tennis shoes,
they wait through the day

for a line to be tossed,
for a glance to be passed,
for an incoming freighter,
bringing news, for a small
cruise ship, bringing someone.

They wait through the day,
and tomorrow they’ll return,
checking to see if the horizon
is still there.

* In the opening paragraphs of Moby-Dick, Melville describes the phenomenon of countless people coming to shorelines to look out to sea.