The Lost Books

The news announced the sinking ship;
water pushing its metal hull
off a gangplank of the straight
until it crumbled as crystal over rock

Planes spotted flotsam and jetsam
—pinched debris riding a caterpillar
of watery waves inching across the sea—
its waterlogged bite engorged
from strewn pages as leaves
sinking into a survivorless

Below, a commandeered army
—a delegation of new ghosts
manifesting posthumously
because sometimes Poseidon reads
while sitting peacefully at his desk—
allowing bullet and bomb to rest

Maybe this is why I fear dark water;
the unknown can appear a monster
—a Kraken, released upon humanity
for polluting harmony

We deserve it, so I maintain distance
from cruise lines and large bodies
concealing a congress of secrets—
because I know what's waiting

My father told me once
The ocean, he said, is like Vietnam
it never releases its dead
once asunder

He'd seen too much. . .
rivers swallowing blood
   — their deltas ceaseless
in supply and demand

There's nowhere to hide
he added, bodies become bait

Ah, but words,
he said, words are safe
—having survived centuries
of conflict and death. . .

and most knew the other's
last ones, to be delivered to family
should they be recaptured by dust

It is true,  [y]ou will always remember
what you were doing
when it hurts the most;

but, what's worse
is not being able to forget
Author's Note
End Quote Ocean Vuong
CCChampionship: Female Division:
Inspiration: Untitled (Blue, Green, & Brown): oil on canvas: Mark Rothko: 1952
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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