The second series of Poets on Couches continues with Sara Deniz Akant reading Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Missing the Boat.” In these videograms, poets read and discuss the poems that are helping them through these strange times—broadcasting straight from their couches to yours. These readings bring intimacy into our spaces of isolation, both through the affinity of poetry and through the warmth of being able to speak to each other across distances.
“Missing the Boat”
by Naomi Shihab Nye
(Issue no. 72, Winter 1977)
It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it.
It is more like the boat stopped
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.
The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.
But you had this idea you were going by train.
You kept checking the time-table,
digging for tracks.
And the boat got tired of you,
so tired it pulled up the anchor
and raised the ramp.
The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy—
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.
Sara Deniz Akant is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Babette (Rescue Press, 2015). Two of her poems appeared in the Winter 2020 issue. Read an interview with her.