Roundabout the Bottom
Until now I have been desperate and young all my life. A whirlpool is spider webbing a ship, and I am on-duty, receiving the distress signals. They light up my brain with their ciphered knocking. I can only guess at what they’re saying. I cheated on my Morse code tests. The water hikes itself up around them. Their noses goggle, filling with sea. They crumple deeper. The sunken six hundred struggle inside the ocean. I stay up all night think- ing of ways to retrieve a ship from roundabout the bottom of the sea. I drag maps out and periscopes. I find a compass and a barometer. I can’t swim, but still I change into my bathing suit. I consider hurling myself off the dock and dragging each sailor up one by one. The water beetles grow fat with salt. I know it is too late, but still I feel it’s my duty to dredge them up with- out letting anyone know my mistake. Bells are ringing inside of me, telling me to do something else and then something other than that. Alarms are sounding. I don’t know where to go. The possibilities keep splintering. My mind is turning over like a weak ankle. The waves are violining above them; a telescope can give me that sight. I recognize my lack of reason and I purge my apologies into the night air. I offer only my grief as recompense.