The Wreck and the Abyss


I heard from an electric man,
Booming commands like winter,
His voice, as rare as thundersnow,
‘I want you,’ unashamed as scarlet sky
At sea; its clumsy clouds mirrored
My mauve heart, and a fanatical force,
To siphon the blood in his veins,
A velvety crescendo at hand
Caught in a misshapen idea of me.
When he commandeered a strange brig
Its sails and mast were splintered,
Twisted roots and blotting paper,
Fueled on Irish whisky and ginger beer,
Nevertheless, he stood sand-blasted
And triumphant; his brow, scowl-lined,
Unwatered and stung from listless wars
Fought (man versus himself, at times)
Far from familiar shores.

He was, as they say, a wreck.

Did he thirst for disaster?
I’ve got an uncanny way to know
(Reading the Tarot, albeit faster)
Defiant, I danced, slipping along
The icy luge-like drive, white-edged
Banks, marbled alabaster, plowed
And pocked by the dog and deer,
My snowshoe-paths, once
An orderly plan, now crashed
Indistinguishably bewildered
I romped through the woods,
Unharmed, unheard—


Still, I wanted a navigator.

I obeyed none before him,
Why fiddle with that? Yes,
My savage hair wilted
To curled reeds, foam-tipped
In the bath. I’m a private steamy
Abyss, dreaming boat slips
To make me over: a clear lake,
Or river, swimmable; navigable;
Instead I’m insatiable, bottom-less
With a merrow’s repeated apology,
“I must go;” and he supposed
A low hum, barely a lion’s
Fremitus, inaudible to a mere
Human-girl, (but I hear
Preternaturally well) might arouse
A subterranean mantelpiece,
Stoke the fires in my breast,
Nearly fatal to any man
Except him, I expect.

In our joined subconscious,
We pretend the stinging tang
Of salted roads that separate us
Creep deep into our throats, akin
To an astringent, a reliable remedy,
Rather than a kiss; it wants
To descend into the esophagus,
Not cling desperately
Begging uvulas, but to fall,
Digesting slowly
Into the gut.

It’s the one place we trust.