At night, sea wolves sniff around our boat
snapping at the lines, scratching the shrouds
howling in frustration that only the rain
and not they can get in,
its persistent drips seeping through
thread-thin cracks and gaps.
The wolves renew their howling,
bare their glowing teeth in the dark
outside the portholes,
scratching at the shrouds,
looking for ways to follow the rain
howling, yowling, rocking the hull,
shaking the masts, rattling the lines
We sleep inside, lulled by the rocking
of the hull, heedless of the scratching,
the howling, the snapping,
napping like infants in a watery cradle,
sheltered from death.
When dawn comes, the howling subsides briefly,
as though the wolves are sniffing out
the new conditions—the light, the stirring
of other creatures—but not for long.
Soon they come rushing at the bow,
running roughly under the hull,
howling even more fiercely as they leap out,
snapping at the now unfurled sails,
chasing us underneath the water,
bucking the hull up and down.
Their frothing jaws snarl wildly
as they move in from all sides
spilling water over the foredeck,
hour after hour, looking for a way in.
Soon the horizon disappears altogether,
everything is wet, cold, grey.
Now we are all the color of sea wolves.