THE RETURNING SAILOR
Down the coast and out to sea,
a voice, a whisper beckons me.
It is the sound of her calling my name.
Would she still love me, a man with my shame?
Will she remember the hands that caressed
her face and body, and how I confessed
of the love and tenderness for her in my heart,
wrenched and torn, when we had to part?
Now, I’m returning and will look for her,
alive with the burning desire to stir
the love we shared when I left for the sea.
I pray she’s still there, waiting for me.
There was a fight. Oh, God! What a mess.
It was late that night. I drank to excess.
I did not know, but did not care
that her husband knew of our love affair.
Coming alive with a fist to my jaw
intent on surviving once the knife I saw
I sprang with shifting feet in dread,
landing a blow with my right to his head,
then felt the piercing pain and might
of flashing silver turned crimson bright.
With his knife to my flesh, and muscle it tore.
Bleeding and enraged I came down and bore
the knife I captured, to his chest then came
in self-defense went at him the same.
His breathing stilled, and he lay dead.
Was justice served this way instead?
I went away broken, feeling despair
leaving her behind, her grief to bear.
Like an anchor weighed down
with heavy remorse
wherever I sailed, wherever my course
I could not forget how she once loved me.
Now I’m returning from a dark, cold sea.
Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson