If You Ever Leave Me

I’ll fly west to Seattle and buy a boat,
not that 34-foot sloop rigged Hunter
I wanted to buy thirty years ago,

no… I’d settle for an old man’s yacht,
a seaworthy craft I can call my home,
maybe a 53-foot Skipperliner houseboat
with twin-diesel engines and teak decks,
or that clean 46-footer in Vancouver,
the High Tide aqua cruiser, a beauty,
named Princess Emma by its owners,
both I see advertised on the Internet.

I’d escape the onerous property taxes
and the icy cold winters of the north,
moor for months at Coal Harbor
in the morning shadows of Vancouver,
fish Pacific waters for Chinook, Coho,
Chum and steel head salmon, find
shelter at a pier along the shores
with access to Puget Sound and Seattle,
maybe captain a fishing charter or two,
and like a sand-hill crane migrate south
for the winter, hugging the coastline,
wending my way to the Fairmont-
San Francisco hotel for the holidays,
with its all glass outside elevator
that makes my stomach flip-flop.

By June I’d make Santa Catalina Island,
and hold court with wealthy celebrities,
leave to spend July 4th in La Jolla,
breakfast at the Broken Yoke Café,
swapping yarns with elderly artists,
entertain a few film writers on board,
and not finding compatible company,

I’d motor down to dusty Ensenada,
spend a few evenings with Carmelita,
sharing the salty worm in Gusano Rojo
mescal, while composing doggerel
about the love-life of an aging widower.

—John L. Campbell, Brookfield, WI