Erin L. McCoy

How deadly—the Caw-burbler
came out of the fishing barracks
and lobster traps piled high like escalators
and swope down on the populace—three boys
huddled in the mud around a rope, were carried off
by red claws, burly
with sawdust, and slag
sunk next to the cartilage,
and beak grinning like an ambulance.
Cheeks off
three mothers, turned them white with wails
and clutched eachother like the brick-pocketed
sailor to the dome of his capsized dinghy:
blowing bubbles,
feeling loggy by his heart.
And the thatchers watched them fly over,
and they kept on thatching.
Then the bird burbled something
(though a hand gripped its tongue)
and some kids thought they smelled like they were babies,
powder and soapsuds, and wailed
and ran to the other mothers
whose lips they thought had hummed out something old.
When on the water the boats bobbed
and the netters saw the gorged bird they kept netting. The fishes        
suffocated hundredfold as normal in their nets.
The boys looked like three coconuts
off to sap the chest of some bare island,
to lure in turtles, finches,
diamond miners, schooners
inherited of the kidnappeds' little brothers.

At the docks the fishers held the mothers
rubbed the fishstink of their hands into their collars,
then, thrown off for fishstink, shoved back out to water.
And the rest of the day the women cooked sweet rolls
and, ankles crossed beneath their seats,
the mourning siblings munched bread; stirring, stirring, stirring,    
thinking about the gullet between the town and the fishboats.





Poorly filled outlines found later in coloring books: [here].