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The Ships

After an inscription of Augustus

“All the Germans

of that territory

sought by envoys

my friendship

The far reaches

of what any Roman had ever seen

opened to me

the mouth

of the Rhine.the water

swallowing the gold-

colored hulls

What gods

would I find in the forests

in the riverbanks

scattered

with precious stones

I sailed my ships

on the sea.dark

and full of meaning

When

our sails first caught

the wind

of the Cimbriit was rough

as their language

I watched

their shirtless oarsmen

maneuvering

the oars

I watched the ships

running their fingers

through the water

of the Roman people”

from Poetry Northwest 08.2 Fall & Winter 2013-2014More by Richie Hofmann from the library

Copyright © Richie Hofmann
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

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