To Unknown Sailors – by Nicholas Christian

Who says it is the joy of children
to be named? The oldest boy
inherits his plowed field, throws ashes
at nothing, and never looks up again;

Santiago faltered at the belief
in so many dying stars;
too many young men cannot
find their way home in the empty wheel.

Voices say what is in us recovers the world
slowly. The whines of our rowing
hands understand boundaries.
We are ordinary,

our lives grow gray
cutting roses midway to Ithaka;
this faithfulness is restless—so forgive
us, quietly, our nightly moan of dogs.

Nicholas Christian is an award-winning writer residing in North Carolina. He’s published here and there and spends his free time failing to carve beautiful spoons and chasing his pet hedgehog Handsome Hans Houdini. He is the joint editor of the literary journal Book of Matches alongside his wife, Kelli Allen.