[At Night the Shipyard Boys Carry Bottles]

by Jesseca Cornelson

At night the shipyard boys carry bottles
of brown ale down to the pebbled beach
of the bay and kick rocks into the waves.
With each thrust, they mutter a girl’s name,
gone to college or working at a bed and breakfast,
each as delicate as flowers they have no names for
but which crush easily in their steel-hardened hands.

Sometimes a falling star flashes across the sky
and disappears before reaching the water,
like the flyaway arcs that drift
from the metal seams of the ships they weld.

Always the ocean is churning,
the light of whatever moon that hangs
cutting back at the shipyard boys in shards
as they watch from the shore. The earth
too seems to churn under their feet
and the empty bottles they hold then toss out to sea,
grunting like soldiers who know no way home
but through the violence their bodies make.

Jesseca Cornelson is a native of Alabama’s Gulf Coast and holds an MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University. Currently, she’s a doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati. Her poems and reviews have appeared in The Other Journal, Caveat Lector, Mid-American Review, The Ohioana Quarterly, The Pedestal Magazine, and the Columbus Dispatch. She is currently researching material for her dissertation—a collection of poems based on Alabama history. Her drink of choice is bourbon and diet.

Back to Issue Three: Spring 2009