The Tanker Never Moves
Flow—the guests take themselves in
And out of the utility room while
I dream them, flowing, always
Backward glancing, from the window
Who would leave open with such weather
Arriving with each of them? While
Guests, not people you would live
With, guests not people you would
Talk too much to, just How can you
Help me? these guests are already
Dead but you cant tell as they back out
Of the back room with love
On their lips, but you can tell
If you look out that window
Where the tanker never moves
Yet tugs moan, moan again
In ecstasy, and the guests flow,
Looking for other rooms, utility
Being not useful to them really
Being dead already, and they move
Back to where they are allowed,
Into the cavities of your body while
You run in place because your legs
Dont lift—the tanker never moves.
Terese Svoboda is the author
of seven books of poetry, translation, and fiction, most recently
Trailer Girl and Other Stories and Treason.
She lives in New York City.
Originally published in the summer
2004 issue of Boston Review.