The lighthouse keeper forges a
family from the sea who are piped with
refulgence and squalid with starlight
mouths and teeth wrought from
puckered lightning, like kneading
darksome flour into an oil spill.
He stitches a clockwork wife together from
faithless sand and sea-glass, and with
six quivering Thursdays she bears sons like
a velvet windmill, boys with glass lungs that
number so many they sleep stacked over
their stilled father like an oubliette with
walls soft like anesthesia and only the patch
of moonlight-lit nothingness spills above them all.
The paint of the lighthouse tears with
bruises of rose wanderlust as the bedroom
fills with bathtubs and the thick waters
murmur within and without the tower
like it is a pitcher made of sculpted nets.
The sea convulses into floodwater, luminous
and stained with bricks and ovens: as the tides
tumble to dust, so does the wife, filthy and dull,
as the sons' bones snap like gold leaf, callow and suckling.
The pellucid umbrellas of the sirens
turn to ash, and so they become light as a
famine devoured, suspended between the rising
sands – like steam born of oracular icebergs - and the
buried skies like a placebo; the bright
geyser withers and illumines only its shadows,
a mobile of whirring knotted umbras.
Like a flour carousel spinning the lighthouse mourns,
tugging its walls together for comfort so it is
a pinnacle, a sepulchral arm raised, like the wick of a
candle, hamstrung amid the pools of wax, against
the verisimilitude of sky and tide
like the shadowed flesh of nature.
Time pinwheels through the weeks like
sobs in a throat as the lighthouse keeper
flounders back to autonomy, swelling to fill
the gaps between the walls, exuding an august
severity, like the braided smoke of freight trains.