by Ross White

For a time, I was a stowaway aboard a great ship,
hidden in great coils of rope.

A stormcloud followed.

I thought back to the maître d’ boning a fish
at the tableside,
and how you whispered to me
as though every word was contraband.

There must be secret plans
to smuggle all the love out of the world.

I was beaten by the captain when he found me,
though now I am a midshipman.

What care we take not to disturb the albatross.
What care I take to keep the sight of you
contraband in my heart all these years later.

What care we take to keep the sight of land
in our minds for days
after the horizons have swallowed the last of it.

ROSS WHITE is the 2012 winner of the James Larkin Pearson prize from the Poetry Society of North Carolina. His poems have appeared in The Greensboro Review, Poetry Daily, Best New Poets 2012, and The Collagist. With Matthew Olzmann, he co-edited Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series. He has received scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and teaches poetry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.