by Maureen Thorson

selected by Heather McHugh

You're Not Captain Here

This is a house of woman and animals
And you're not captain here.
When sunset slicks its way down the windows,
Our laughter is high-pitched, our daydreams
Tenuous, the fleas snapping at our ankles
All too real. Land tended with cinder-block
Borders, with car covers, with sandburs
And blisters – it doesn't know where you
Rocked, couldn't care. This past six months
Of unobserved growth, an entanglement
That proceeded all too smoothly without your
Direction. The dog doesn't remember you,
Barks. Cat never liked you anyway. The hedges
That screen the horizon were trimmed by other,
Smaller hands and, here, all your commanding
Ways garner only the stink-eye. The ocean
Takes care of its own and so do we. So relax.
Take out the trash. You're not captain here.

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