The Voyager

The tiny boat floats down the river, bobbing inconsequential
in the pull of the tide. Its little paper sail flutters in the thin breeze
a piece of folded newspaper advertising newborn collie puppies for sale on one side
a half-sheet of recent obituaries on the other. I can almost see

my grandmother’s small, black-and-white photograph from the shore
where I stand, my tiny daughter’s warm hand in mine
watching our little boat as it’s swept away, perhaps
as far as the ocean. My daughter chatters excitedly
about the exotic places our boat might see, far-away places
my grandmother never got to visit, but talked of often.

I imagine it’s her on the boat, and not just her picture
a thin, pale woman, mouth set permanently in a thin, determined line
leaning over the railing of a real ship, eyes forever
fixed on the delights of the horizon.