Beneath the Capsized Boat – Brian Yapko
thrashing, treading water under
the thetis, gurgling and gasping
with but limited time to contemplate
the reasons why i should be rescued.
the sea as green as boric acid as
cold as witchcraft i hold onto my
little pocket of air clutching my
life-preserver buoyed with melting
fantasies of ahab and whales, of
bly and the history of mutinies and
the scalding strippings of skin wrought
by the cat-o-nine-tails and the way
you and i fought as the tempest waves
betrayed us. but the sea, the sea is
inside us, not just in our struggling
lungs or our vomit from swallowing
the ocean but it is our very blood
evolving red from saltwater since
the proterozoic and… dammit i’m so
cold, drowsing numb-exhausted i
cannot stay awake but you yell
don’t sleep now, you lie to me, you say
they will be along soon to rise us up
like venus from the clamshell
wiped out and shivering i hear
seagulls through the inverted deck,
vibrations along the keel, gulls
which means we’re close to land.
o, bless their salt hearts and
their neptunian caw-caws!
when i dive and resurface past the
thetis i see a desert beach and we will
probably live but i do not trust the sand
for it too was consumed in storms, in ice,
in tectonic shifts and bitter words…
the sea is dangerous but
beware the land. it will eat you.
Brian Yapko practices law and writes poetry. His poems have appeared in Grand Little Things, Society of Classical Poets, Poetica, Chained Muse and as a first prize contest winner in The Abstract Elephant. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.