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
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,
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.