by Robert Earl Stewart
The gate of your ribs pulled open tonight.
Your chest bleeding some kind of searchlight.
It picks up the grey gull of a boat against the darkness,
the landing party lit white as embers.
You cannot see the man who lies in the hold
on a dune of dried fruit spilled from crates.
It’s as dark as the centre of the sun down there; his thirst
as bright as the centre of that darkness.
Sometimes he looks like that guy you know—
that guy with the boat and the card game.
But most of the time he just looks like the admiral,
locked away in disease from his horde.
It smells like birthday candles where we watch
from the shore. The lamp in your chest has gone out.
The shorebirds hold their eggs inside like the future,
like a new, dark beach before the prow.