Venus Conjunct Pluto
Tonight—at sunset—I went down
To the bottom of the boat.
Steel doors locking behind me
Descending into his darkness
I boarded this boat, death place of fish—
What did I hope for here?
Enclosed, trapped, dark
Nothing alive survives here—
Why must I play out these feral illusions?
This siren call—
Storm tossed and wild—
I’d set the bait myself.
He found my note, frozen in bottom of a barrel.
Come visit, he said, and I did.
He sat me down next to the helm
Overlooking the bay,
Looming large here,
He looked hard, wounded—
A bloodied hand from too much work.
“It’s all I know” he said.
He told me how in a storm he goes slow, drifts—
Rolls with the waves, and likes it.
This I like.
Whereas I go too fast—
Too passionate, I knock myself off course
Making me homesick, seasick—
Eyeing me now, he wonders why I’ve come
Some flight of fancy he thinks—
Some flight of desperation
“Our work is similar I say—
We set the bait and hope to catch the fish—“
I pause and smile.
“There’s a difference,” he says
“I go out and net them—
You lure them in.”
“Not true,” I lied.
He smiled through stained teeth.
The light was dimming—
A narrow pink strip of hope
Appeared along the horizon.
“Where’s Venus?” I said
Knowing she was nowhere near here.
Where were the words to hide?
How far off course I’d come….
Silence descended. He shifted in his seat
And looked full-square at me;
He spoke of how a man went down to hell
To save his woman—
“Persephone” I said, “was abducted
What heroic expectations
Were getting washed out here?
And would I who had come to see—
Too curious—find myself hooked and writhing
On these dank wooden floors?
“Would you like a cookie?” he asked.
I must get home before dark, I thought,
I must get home before dark—