Waterfront, San Francisco, the Night I Thought About Committing Suicide, Robert Stout

Waterfront, San Francisco, the Night
I Thought About Committing Suicide

 

Oily waves slapped at the hulls
of ships rusting at anchor in the deserted cove.
The numbers on their high, pointed prows
glimmered like the names on tombstones
as a watchman’s light flicked past.
Rats and roaches froze, then continued their scramble
for nourishment. Lacy jellyfish
floated the incoming tide
like loose scraps of kleenex
gathering around the dark pier.
A bat in the masting screeched.

On the murky surface of waves
beneath my feet—one step from plunging deep
into my past—I saw a face
wrinkle into hideous laughter
and I backed away,
mouth sucking the dank harbor air
like a swimmer who’d almost drowned.

____________________
Robert Stout

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