Michael Prior

of the sea, lonely in your kingdom of claws.                    
You cannot hear the song—stranger
to the blinking tides, stranger than the mouth
of noon swallowing whole the shadows.
Below the scuttled whalers, and the whales

that pass like sunken dirigibles, below
the water itself, claws scavenge and trim
the barnacled shards that sealed your life. 
A single black ribbon of seaweed measures
incipient destinations, while elsewhere,

the HMS Coventry, the HMS Galatea,
the HMS Khartoum grave the sand and mud,
the bad guts and caustic enzymes. Ramon,
you must know. Do you still dream of our
summer afternoon? The pier that curled you

on its shingled tongue, the dripping voice
that plied the waves. Hear me, Ramon.
Hear the wet slap of the first cod I caught off
the dock. We forgot the cudgel, so we killed it
with my sister's size four New Balance shoe.





A thing in itself, like love, like submarine / Disaster, or the first sound when we wake.