the promise

Image result for lighthouse paintings

the promise

seagulls descend into the sinking surf

as daylight enfolds itself in the cloak

of night, all across the island, havoc

reigns, turtles drowning in the rising

tide, plant roots shriveling as the sun

smolders vegetation. the punctured

stratosphere crucified from chemicals

as layers of the firmament topple and

the sun’s very fingers squeeze our faces

in the merciless fashion of a zealous aunt.


despite this, sailboats trek out

from the harbor, young pilots refusing

to hold to the tiring safety of tried shores,

hoping to find the whale of whom

their grandfathers told stories,


a tremendous fish which would sometimes

wash up on beaches, gasping on the hot

sand as the people would swarm around

snapping pictures with their cellphones

as the great beasts flopped their fins

gasping for water, while the crowd

would jostle, elbowing each other

for the perfect shot. but such tales


are myths, stories told in schoolbooks

to make boys dream of things bigger

than themselves, to imagine

a hospitable world.

after a long day,

the boys return with nothing

but bleached kelp, stuck to the sides

of their vessel. their hearts still

ensnared in the abyss’s net, clinging

to the hope that some animal remains


in the depths of the ocean. they dream

of a leviathan that lurks in the lifeless

water, hungering to know that somewhere

even a little fish might exist.


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