“At 4 a.m. the Cook jumped overboard having lain
in the Moon all night he was out of his head.”
—Charles W. Morgan, logbook, July 8, 1846

Drowsy orb, the hue
of dried sea salts, 

froths forth the opaque tides
we sail upon, each season passes 

unheeded on the sea:
    our years brim with tooth

and bone polished
to a sheen like flecks

of reflected light
set in iridescent nebulae,

or a gloss of whale oil gleamed
over crested currents

when morning looms—
a sextant useless, I study

this emerald celestial swirl
hissing in the Arctic 

firmament, a luminous
crackling glint above—     alone

on deck, I stand under a sky
shucked open

into plums, indigos, mottled tar
dark, yet white capped

and milk spilled: distant, spherical,

among constellations I seek
a whale’s eye, a blowhole,

starry water droplets
from a fancied surfaced fluke, 

abalone imaginings in my aubade,
this aurora, where the moon’s 

a pearl, a stone,
some slick oyster, maybe.