The Foghorn

It's nighttime on the bay after your drunken farewell party and I've walked too far in this damp cold, my legs worn out from standing and dancing, my cheeks sore from forced smiles at people I hope to never recognize again, and as I turn back a foghorn sounds, low and booming over the cracked black rocks of the beach, and I imagine that the slouching gray-green shadows barely visible in the murk are Tibetan monks, robed and hunched in prayer, and as I pick my way wraith-like and near-silent along the jagged edge of the water, the unseen foghorn blows again and a solitary ship answers, thin and wavering out in the black, and the thick sea-salt air chokes the echoes and hangs in my old lungs and I wonder what kind of ship it is, a military vessel, or a fishing ship, or a freighter bringing shipments of our Canadian insulin to the children in China for whom the monks pray, and I know that I cannot follow you, that the time to protect you has passed and now I'm down, praying too, my knees steeping in arctic puddles and my head shrugged low, my eyes tight.