“Whale Hunt” by Robert Colman
from the 2018 Poem in Your Pocket Day booklet
“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.
Originally from Factory (Frog Hollow Press, 2015)