Memory's Colors

By Thomas M. McDade

Paint on the Port Jeff Ferry
decks is green not gray
like what I chipped
and sanded on destroyers
when I was young
but I feel eighteen anyway.
Walking past a woman
breastfeeding her baby,
I spy a dolphin tattoo
on her shoulder and gaze
at my forearm where
an eagle almost lived.
Little kids line up
to pet her Golden Retriever,
tail thumping like the foot
of a deckhand anxious
for a watch to end.
As the ferry engines
back down, I’m standing
by a warm stack recalling
one I painted gray while
dangling in a bosun's chair.
This last day of summer,
memory's colors count
more than they did in June.
Waves reflecting sun
fail to tint black
pleasure boats
haze navy gray.
No matter how much
memory I pour on
the deck it remains green.
The color of the paint
covering the stack
brings more to mind
pasteurized milk.

“Memory’s Colors” was previously published in the following:

High Plains Register, Cheyenne, Wyoming, “Memory’s Colors” – As “Ferrying Crossing”

Miss Inspiration and Other Sailor Poems – Online Publication “Memory’s Colors” – As “Ferry Crossing”

About the Author

Thomas M. McDade is a resident of Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT, & RI.  He is a graduate of Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT.  McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran serving ashore at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Virginia Beach, VA and at sea aboard the USS Mullinnix (DD-944) and USS Miller (DE / FF-1091). His poetry has most recently appeared in The Beliveau Review and Last Call Chinaski, An Homage to 70 Years of Bukowski's Influence on Culture and Writing.