Chicora, Phoenix, and Waldo
Morgan kindly offered us the opportunity to provide a few more of her poems here:
Cups and plates spilled
into the lake, a terrible clattering
lost among splitting timbers.
The fury was so great
it exceeded sound, numbed
the ears of a coal passer,
who paused, mute on the tilted deck,
and spotted the dishes in torrent and foam.
They looked as though they were soaking
in soap suds. A dipper from a gravy bowl
spinning on the surface, cream
from a milk crock swirling in liquid
as dark as the sky. Some men
he knew had already tasted it –
were sinking beneath a new milky way.
Lifeboats drop from davits
with the sort of recklessness
only known during disaster.
Seven passengers climb in one boat,
banging shins, scraping knees.
Water breaks over the gunnels.
The oars are lost. Women are trying
to paddle with the palms of their hands.
The boat is bobbing. Men are shouting.
One man from Wisconsin
sculls with a broom,
sweeping the immensity of the lake
over and over again,
as though he might make it
to a beach, a dry expanse
where he will brush away the prints
of plovers and write his name in the sand.
Prove he is alive.
The passengers have made a fire
in the captain’s bath tub
and are gathered around it,
eating tinned peaches with their fingers.
After they burn the legs of the wash stand,
and after the tinned fruit is gone,
few things remain
to tether them to this world:
One door to the pilot house,
ripped from its hinges
by three deckhands.
One life jacket,
which sits like the last peach
no one will eat.
a woman holds quietly in her lap
like a sleeping baby.
She strokes it gently,
as though silencing a wild holler
Poems (c) Cindy Hunter Morgan.