In Refuge Cove 

Between boats 

is moored Mariah

To her port side is Bad Attitude  

With The Lady Adelaide to starboard. 

Bad Attitude is an ugly hulk of a thing,  

paint peeling, squatting in the dark water.  

Ron sits on board watching the footy most nights.  

His favoured drink is port wine, 

in unlabelled glass flagons. 

It stains his beard, where it spills when he falls asleep  

over charts of reefs and places he never goes.  

He dreams of fish and strippers and his long dead mother holding him tight.  

On The Lady Adelaide sleep Ted and Ann. 

The boat as old as their love.  

Elegant polished wood, white sails curled neatly, ropes bound to shiny brass cleats.  

On calm days they take her out in the gulf  

and drink gin on the foredeck  

and remember that time, off Tahiti  

when a movie star in a white glittering catamaran 

came alongside  

and asked them for a light 

  •  what was his name again?   

They dream of smoking under tropical skies  

when youth permitted such grand adventures.  

Mariah bumps gently between the hulls,  

Bad Attitude on one side,  

The Lady Adelaide on the other,  

their contrast making her seem small and neat and lean.  

Pete, a tall man with sad eyes,  

unfolds himself from the cabin each morning.  

To the trained eye,  

his gentle movements tidying and marshalling the ropes, the sails,  

are caresses.  

There is joy in the way he opens the hatch,  

love in the way he stows the gear.  

She is his living thing this modern yacht, his Mariah.  

He falls asleep each evening to the sweet sound of the wind and water  

and dreams of nothing else but ploughing through the green ocean at full sail.  

In this refuge for dreamers,  

the three boats bob together on the black water,  

their captains asleep within. 

Ron slumped over his charts,  

Ted and Ann entwined in their faded satin sheets,  

and Pete softly curled cat-like in his bunk,  

the crisp stars above reflecting diamonds in the water below.  

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