“If this breaks you die.” – A machine shop owner, cradling an airplane part in his hands.
We ask you to pull us further
from land, the harpoon
snug in your side, the seal bladder
ballast above you.
after we leap from our boats
and pierce your flesh
that you carry our skiffs
as far as your might allows.
Let me roll my bone dice,
clack the dominoes back in place.
There is not one leviathan we do not love
unto death. Who drew whom
into the deeps? Wasn’t everything
I carved a compass face
on this scrimshaw box
because direction was all I could think,
wind and current
and your back as it breached.
If they say I must now put away my blade
I would still follow you, all the ropes
you once towed us with stretching unseen
from bulwark and mast, cliff side
and the gaff sail of earth pounded
solid, this doorway.
Copyright © Robert Colman. Originally published in Factory (Frog Hollow Press, 2015).
Robert Colman is a Newmarket, Ont.-based writer and editor and the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Little Empires (Quattro Books 2012) and The Delicate Line (Exile Editions 2008), and the chapbook Factory (Frog Hollow Press 2015). His next full-length collection, Democratically Applied Machine, is forthcoming from Palimpsest Press in 2020.