The first wife floats in memory calmly
who formerly was storm-tossed, who gave
at the edges a whitewash to those rocks
on which she would founder, who founded
the Territory Hysteria, bordering
the knife, the state of the doomed union,
who spent lavishly the genital coin,
who ate up the year’s best and its worst,
who was the slaveship that came in,
who wasted the fortune in the hold we
have mentioned, who put out for history
a veil of tears, and a sour milk steam.
Recall, also, how you arrived by that ship,
seasick and blubbering as much as anyone,
and how it took you, for all its wooden groans,
to land, and then let you leave.
You were the dullest coxswain alive.
You were put in the hole for good reason.