He saw the night sky crack like a violin
When he first began to drown.
It cut across the string of stars, every single pearl,
Dropping them, one by one, into the cold Atlantic.
Beneath the black waves, he gasped for all the ice in the wind,
Baring his teeth into the howling wolves of winter
As they shook his brain awake, his eyes reddened
And wounded by their torches, the faint fire of salt water
Biting at his dreams.
The ship behind him raised her nose into the darkness
As she flaked the splintered beams from her hull,
Littering the wild water with the bones of war,
Aching at her empty sides.
And still he wheezed, his ribs barbed with thin air,
Filling the tin cup of his heart with gunpowder and rain
As copper blood pumped into his mouth,
Dried and cracking, lined with pewter, rusting as fast as memories.
He struggled like a rag doll against the pitch and pull,
His eyes flickered their spotlights into the iron dark of space,
Motionless and far, a moon quietly pinning it all together
Until every shattered star on the sable swells drifted into view,
Pooling into a dazzling form, a woman
He knew from another world,
One where the fire is low and warm,
The sugar bowl is full,
And her hands are made of sky.
She shimmered in the shine of starlight
And beckoned his wincing eyes to stay awake
Just one hour more
Till all her lovely words could sing him to the shoreline.