Justin Rigamonti

Justin Rigamonti writes and teaches writing in Portland, OR, where he also co-produces Poetry Press Week with Liz Mehl. His work has appeared in the Burnside Review, The Threepenny Review, and on Zócalo Public Square.

The Captain

The old captain, lost at sea,
in his last, long sun-bleached days,

started dropping books gently overboard,
one by one, and the star-charts, too, the maps,

the bodies of his former crew;
he dropped or lowered all of them

onto the flat, blue surface below the deck.
He wanted everything he’d used or loved along the way

laid out around him, and so the limp
sails, too, he cut and shredded

and sprinkled to float among
the pages, the tatters.

They pooled around the motionless prow.
He knew what it looked like from above:

the almond shape of the ship
inside a white corolla

against a field of blue—
he’d made an eye to stare at god.

But when he laid down to die
and the heavens opened up above him

no god came forth to receive the judgment.
He was alone with his anger,

and so his anger lifted, like a ghost released,
unraveling towards the stars.