Maritime Malice

After The Lighthouse, (2019)

Your cells scrimshawed stubborn.
Your barometer heart, beaten.
A cistern overflowing with heave.
You, Proteus, now a glimpse:
blunted trident, limp tentacles,                      anchored, alone.

The ship of you filleted:
a rickety dory, wave-thrashed,
snapped by sea storms.
It trawls for your vigour:
a shoal captured, hauled on deck,
gasp-flailing through a mesh of twisted

You remember the crest then brake,
how it left you frothing
at your shoreline.
A nautical nemesis arriving
like a mermaid on rocks:
the fan tail stretch of it.
Sliced your joy with a rigging knife;
left you an armless starfish.
Your helm ungiving.
Your Fresnel lens sinking.

Will you ever come up for air?
If you do, will you
bob: a cooked lobster buoy
or rove like driftwood?
Will you
will yourself
back to your own
ordered light?

David Hanlon is a welsh poet living in Cardiff. He is a Best of the Net nominee. You can find his work online in over 40 magazines, including Rust & Moth, Icefloe Press & Mineral Lit Mag. His first chapbook Spectrum of Flight is available for purchase now at Animal Heart Press.

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