I thought jelly fish were lungs, spirits
of men who had drowned. When I stepped
aboard the Bristol ship, I checked the bunks —
looked for the rind of a lime or a journal that trembled
with dust. I found a smeared wax-dripped page,
memorized and punched soft by a pestle moon.
I’ve forgotten all my grammar, my ciphers and my
codes. I can’t recall if Caliban is real, or a fish
Grandma boiled down to soothe my scratchy throat.
I will resist the temptation to be straight, Love. When
I arrive next Thursday in my wedding dress and you
call my name across the blue ripples of wave that hiss
like breakfast butter, I’ll not hesitate. I will
release the tattered map that I borrowed and tucked
inside my garter. My white ballerina slippers will tap
like gulls on the wide plank that connects you to me.
You have promised that below, lung men will suck
and stir the water into batter to make our wedding
cake. It is to be shared with all the ghosts who would
have attended but remembered in time to offer regrets.
If you have any comments on this poem, Laurie Byro would be pleased to hear from you.