Portrait of a Guy



after T.S. Eliot



The fog horn wakes me up in February.

The night leaves snow on the docks

but morning grays it,

sends rivers running down the bare cooper beech.

Rose Island is shrouded by fog.

The bridge is lost in the fog.


Tonight there will be friends and a baked brie,

not the lost August bottle of Dewar’s

or thank you notes and smiles.



I said, “Sure, let’s go home to Pour Judgment,”

ordering top shelf Scotch, 

taunting the bartender, 

How big are your rocks?  How fast will they melt


into my Dalwhinnie 

and the middle-aged woman bought you a drink,

said, “Make sure your girlfriend tries it.”


I never told you, some pro-sailor

on that dragon Maxi from Hong Kong 

tried to snatch me up. You know what they say:

“The odds are good,


but the goods are odd,”

and anyway, he wasn’t you,

so we sipped the drink


but what’s an espresso martini 

compared to a Balvenie?

It was drizzling and how did we get so deep into June?

Your hands on me under the overhangs 

in Washington Square—


Newport, not New York.

Newport.  Not New York.

“And so you are going abroad.”



“Go south in the winter”

while I stay and use kindling from the construction.

Our friends, we Dark and Stormied, and they said to me,

about August barbeques,

“And he played the piano, and 

wasn’t he good?”

“Of course he was good.”

“Isn’t that just like him?”



Oh, but aren’t you skinny now 

and stoned, beaten, 

down?  Acutely depressed and polite about it?

What did they do to you?


“I feel rootless,” you said. “Want to make out for days?”

I could see my reflection in your varnish.

I could see my reflection in your brightwork.


I want to see you

treat fifty feet like a dinghy.

“Sécurité.  Sécurité.

This is Sightsailer 

outbound from Bowen’s Warf.”

When was the last time 

you felt home?



Not since they took 

the pool table out of Pour Judgment.

My father saying, “I judge a man 

by his brightwork.”

The Old Port dock,

your hands on me,

“Your dress is soft”

then waiting in the rain for the launch,

“I’d hold you, but


I don’t want to get you wet,” then

wringing fists full of water

out of my Diane von Furstenberg.


I could see my reflection in your varnish.



Go south in the winter.  Go aboard.

I will bake a brie,

feed our friends, 

feed the fire,

refresh the drinks.




poet brookes moody looking into the cameraBrookes Moody was awarded a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she taught literary journal production and creative writing. Her work has previously been published in Crab Creek ReviewYemasseeBarnstorm, and The Northern New England Review. She worked in the publisher’s office at Red Hen Press as she completed her doctoral dissertation on intertextuality in poetry and popular song lyrics. You can find her at www.brookesmoody.com