Boat in Dry Dock

by Jo Bell

A welded tongue; she talks in water
and is dumb in dock. A wet knife in,
a tethered cow when out.

Under way she cuts the surface,
frays the bank. Here it’s scrape
and solder, grind and burn.

Half-lit and heavy in the shed
there’s too much air.
The floors don’t move.

She wants a navigation,
sluices, channelled wet; the rain
to lick her ropes and scuppers.

She wants her own weight
hanging in her long black hide,
her pitted hull, her rusts.

The cut pours in to ease her steel.
She floats again. She bobs
and bumps her nose against the gate.

She holds. The welcome shift
of everything, the balance
and the give!