Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Exercise 2

My shipworm riddled heart

is bound in hammered copper,
to keep the worms from the rigging of my bones.
When I lie still to rest I hear them,
boring through the woody ventricles
the blood rusting the hammered skin,
the tinny sound of the surge
the hollow thump of softly rotting timbers
against the scrimshawed copper case,

a seashell held to my ear echoes
only their wet knotting

I cannot sleep.

They tangle through the dumb wood.
My father, the sharpener of knives
carved this heart for me
from a wharf piling,
bound it with rotten rope
and gave it,like it a gift,
a judas-kiss sharp with whiskers
and the words “keep it safe’ .

I hammered the housing that holds
it in shining copper , now verdigris-green
from the sea salt splatter and acid of my blood,
tapped the tattoo with a tinsmith's hammer,
stitched myself lungs from coral and sailcloth

now , the long nights drawn on, and compassless
I walk the muddy sea bottom
with pearls for eyes

My mouth sewn silent with a sailor’s knot
my creaking shipwrecked heart
a bellows in the dark

Your name scratched on it
The only thing shining

with some vague alluding to Bill Spearshaker and an endless debt to the cream skinned and fair
Ms Rachel Mckibbens

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