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PINSKY, Robert


What is this body as I fall asleep again?

What I pretended it was when I was small --

A crowded vessel, a starship or submarine

Dark in its dark element, a breathing hull,

Arms at the flanks, the engine heart and brain

Pulsing, feet pointed like a diver's, the whole

Resolutely diving through the oblivion

Of night with living cargo. O carrier shell

That keeps your trusting passengers from All:

Some twenty thousand times now you have gone

Out into blackness tireless as a seal,

Blind always as a log, but plunging on

Across the reefs of coral that scrape the keel --

O veteran immersed from toe to crown,

Buoy the population of the soul

Toward their destination before they drown.