The labored groan of a defeated mast
heaves along with the sighing waves,
lamenting on the rising winds,
remembering a sun-speckled age…
releasing into a sea so vast
each base sorrow, thinned and skinned.
All is still…
Threads of wind slip through the boards,
dancing into a bare ballroom,
their feet slipping beneath a sheet of brine
as they whistle to a long lost tune.
A siren scream invites the fire
that waltzes across the purple sky;
the gods begin their drunken grumblings,
while the deck beneath their voices sighs.
Rain plays and pulls at tattered tarps,
laughing as it’s stolen by the gale;
a surge of sea embraces the bridge,
lingering behind to kiss the sails.
The chandelier, greened by the years,
staggers aimlessly along the beams,
the shouts and bouts of gods in feud
increase the tempo of flitting streams.
But a shadow swims beneath the ball,
angered by the noise and calls.
With claws of midnight he reaches slow
and scrapes the keel in one swift blow.
The party lurches…
The tempest trains his ear sideways,
the lightning pauses, the thunder stays,
the surf slips off the deck in fear,
the rain retreats, the winds still to hear…
All is still…
A low howl drips from the mast like wax…
so wrought with agony and crimson pain,
that it bends in submission to the beast below,
and offers up its wrists in chains.
The sea, reluctantly, stifles its cry,
and soothes its splinters with weeping swells.
The wind hums a mournful, gray tune,
and sprints across waves in a wistful spell.
Then with one last plea it sinks into the sea,
and the gods stand by in open-jawed awe,
wondering how their ball had gone so wrong-
wondering if it was they who prompted its fall.
The shadow smiles beneath a sea in torment
as it pulls the ship close to its chest-
“You’re lonely no more,” he whispers in velvet,
“Now sleep, my child. It’s time to rest.”