Twilight, the moon's blunt pan-face rolls its eyes

as we clamor and work our way toward the docks,

where the town's drag queens have gathered.

They try to control the crowd, maintain order.

This is, after all, the inborn role of the drag queen.

Her power, worth, is measured in her subjects' sense

of comfort, calm, and, perhaps, their willingness

to let go.

Tourists and locals alike line the wharf. A few doom-struck

souls cry out as they allow themselves, wholly fractious, to drop

into the otherwise still harbor waters. At each such splash,

a drag queen bats her lashes and quips into a megaphone. 

So, we proceed. Each regent commandeers a vessel. 

We minions pile on. The Glittery Ones quickly

assemble crews and assign tasks. Soon out,

beyond the fisher's pier, the now-dim resort town

grows more distant on the horizon behind us;

two cabin boats collide and slowly topple into the sea's

big, dusky mouth. 

One queen tugs her yellow wig from her head.

Another mutters, dark and gutturally, “That's it, boys.”

Some of us dangle from the sides of  boats, pointing

into the velvety waters; others point toward the wholly vacant

distance. And the vessels move slowly in various directions,

each adrift, bad pop music still ringing faintly,

the sable horizon between black sea and black sky,

our collective flatline.

Paul-Victor Winters is a writer and teacher living in Southern New Jersey whose essays and poems most recently appear or are forthcoming in The Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, and Scythe.

On Libations:

“Several years ago, my doctor convinced me to quit both alcohol and coffee.  Since then, I've become feeble, weak-minded, and rather boring.  I drink tea. A lot of tea.”

A Poem by Paul-Victor Winters

Photo by Tom Haydu