In his booming, amphitheatrical voice, he calls out:
Our Father Who Art in Nada, Nada Be Thy Name.
And if the wingbeats of the gulls are God’s answer,
they are also the wingbeats of gulls and only that.
He keeps the .32 Smith & Wesson at his waist.
Loaded and holstered—the gun his father shot
himself with. He says that the heirloom pistol
is for bull sharks. It’s June, 1941. And the war
in Europe isn’t being staged for this American,
but it beats offering $100 to all comers to box
on the docks: bareknuckled or with the gloves.
In any war, the moon is still the moon and men
like this man up to God knows what for Glory.
Everyone on the island is sleeping in the nude
and with a window open, praying for a breeze.
With a crew and a Thompson submachine gun,
again he patrols the north coast to Cayo Confites.
Again, wafers of moon transubstantiate in waves
scarving the hull in all waters, littoral and pelagic.
Again he wants to sink a U-boat with short-fuse
munitions, hand grenades. Rationed diesel fuel
feeds the 75-horse Chrysler, low engine-echo
unbuilding the dark, encouraging shore birds
to change rooms in their houses by the sea.