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  • Mary Ellen Swee

Good Fortune

Old men in red hats

side-by-side,

drifting onto

the wooden deck.

In the middle

is the ship’s captain

with eyes that bulge

like oysters,

ancient and rough.

They droop,

on the lookout

for sharks

two thousand years

after setting sail.

His tender crew

crowds the reef

shoulder-to-shoulder,

bending to the old man

with oyster eyes.

He welcomes a sea god

onto white-capped waves

near where hermit crabs

used to live in caves.

Oyster eyes

calls on the idol

for good fortune,

runs his fingers

along a boneless curve,

as he slinks across

the wooden deck

with sailors watching.

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