The “Land Ho” Kiss

by Cyrus Cassells

This isn’t the Ark, this cruise ship,
Though in life, we’re occasionally imperiled,
Occasionally jubilant animals on a journey,

Not unlike Noah’s recruited camels & safe-kept toucans—
Our ship-provided horoscopes remind us
We’re both hard-to-budge

Earth signs (Taurus & Capricorn)
So how did the serene nighttime sea become
Our escalating desire’s sponsor

& Venus’s “well, what have we here” white gleam,
A busybody governess or duenna?
Stargazer, co-passenger,

I know it’s a matter of supreme kismet
When I linger too long on deck
Just to listen & absorb

Your marvelous vintage guitar
The way my mother Isabel always relished
Nat King Cole & Johnny Mathis;

Confession: when I broadcast her ashes
Over the coastline’s blue hullabaloo,
So help me, I crooned “Chances Are”—

Night after night between ports-of-call,
The both of us insistent Sherlocks,
Ready-or-not gossips, we banter

Until inglorious wolf’s hour
About our equally hurly-burly pasts:
Our make-believe fisticuffs & top-secret crushes.

I even venture singing Simon & Garfunkel’s
“Cecilia” & “The Boxer” with you on a minor dare—
My tenor to your baritone—

Your part Welsh, part Métis skin,
Usually chaplain-pale
From Yuletide Montreal, has bronzed

So thoroughly in the puissant sun,
Your upbeat Quebecois posse insists
You could pass for Cuban—

Under Cassiopeia & the leeward stars,
Your chance-taking lips on mine
Are deadsure—paramount & gorgeous

& your coppery flesh runs warm,
My sun-worshipping Magellan.
Is this glorious, precipitous,

“Land ho” kiss—
This immense starboard ecstasy,
The end of figurative storms?

Troubadour, dice-roller, night raconteur,
Where will you lead me—
Like Noah’s unerring dove,

Now that you know I’ll follow?

Published on August 25, 2022