She writes of a whale born lonesome
Consigned by a larynx misshapen to blubber
Unheard, in a pitch as voiceless as a rustwrapped
Tuba, honking on the ocean floor.
I watch her hands wring restlessly,
As I thumbover this draft; she is
Twisting untwisting an absent sheet
And it makes me think that she, a writer,
Has never quite dispelled the woozy sense
Of a foetus eavesdropping on the world;
A world beyond this maternal blubber.
It makes me shudder
To think of her tugging on shutters,
Shuddersome in bed, in the presence of gods,
Countless gods now debunked,
Who once extorted sacrifice
And willed the world into being
Out of indifference, as though it were the powder
Of a cigarette butt they were stubbing out;
To think she hears still their omens,
As a whimpering wind in laneways
Or, in her words, let us use her words:
A whale’s song; sombre tuba;
Mouthpiece filled with sand.
Some mornings, escaping her muggy room
She, a writer, can be spied
Playing Grand Inquisitor:
Stately, but still groggy, heaping
Her tortured scribblings on the pyre
She watches them, windborne
Like the churning silhouettes of distant bats.
The soot departs
But carries a secret longing:
To bewitch some wanderer
Who finds ash upon a beach.
Image: Caleb Roenigk