A Dream of a Ship

Posted: November 9, 1992 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I sag into my bonds,
bound to this wooden chair
with water from my eyes
six inches deep on the floor.
I feel all alone on a ship
gently rocking, back and forth,
water rolling, sighing
from bulkhead to bulkhead.
my head is down
and my hair is in my face but
if I was to look up,
my pupils would birth stars;
they would burn their way to the sky.
my hands are tied with
my own intestines, wetly coiled;
every movement
wrenches my stomach
in dizzy circles, hollow
like an airplane ride.
the chair holds me up,
gives me something to be tied to,
roots me to the deck; an anchor.
my mind hurts from
holding these stars,
squeezing my eyes shut and bearing
the sting of gas
leaking through my eyelids.
sails snap in my ears;
I grow a mast for a spine,
grasping handfuls of air
through canvas fingers.
I grow old and feel my hull
rotting as it surges
through these black waters.
I grow very tired from dreaming
of the sound of surf
on rocks, a shore.
tired from creating all this magic
for no one to see.
below, I flash open my eyes
and stand forth from the chair,
wet bracelets hanging
from my pale chafed wrists,
and I climb slowly to the salt air
of the deck of my ship.
I balance on the railings,
ignoring the spray of rain and sea,
and the call of oblivion
in the depths of the ocean,
my mother. finding strength
after strength after strength and
whittling them into kindling,
like so much driftwood.
teetering on the edge of falling
from the railing into myself
forever, I like being here:
I am myself — I have nothing but me
and my starry eyes and
my wonderful rotting ship,
intestines around my hands
and an emptiness in my stomach.
there are no more tears to cry
in the hold of the ship
for the toys I have lost
when I was younger,
refusing to grow up,
to grow old.
nothing can destroy
my beliefs; without them,
I go. I would let all the stars
that I have created
stream to the skies,
shrieking for me,
for what will become of me,
a bag of bones, a sack of skin.
I remember my stars;
they will remember me,
whispering my name
through the nighttime.

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