by Mark Wunderlich

Mark Wunderlich

Look at me from your pitiless distance, look
as I give myself to the feral sea

where I hang between atmosphere
and the hidden sands below, your fool in this

plaything of a boat, which may no longer save nor salvage.
See me here, face in my hands

wet with spray and sweat, sick with the knowledge
of my unworthiness. The wind pitches,

waves break where they will, neither soil nor stone
beneath me, while overhead the dumb sky strips off

its wet shirt and tosses it to the wind’s hands.
I beg you, push up my chin with your thumb

and press your bearded cheek to mine. Settle me
with the dark soil of your eyes, you who made us

and all the other pieces of the damaged world.
What we men offer each other is nothing

compared to your cold body lying down atop my own,
prostrate on the deck, your breath humid in my ear.

Last night I dreamt the ship grew down and pinions,
a hard and rubbery bill, while the prow shook itself

into the neck of a swan. I clung to its back like a louse
and we flew, feet drawn up into feathers,

the glacier of night creeping by beneath us.
I have forsworn all the others, feel you

tightening me to your large thighs,
nothing left to keep us apart.

I am your little ram,
burying his muzzle in thick grass of your pasture,

folded by you at night, herded by day,
a dedicated dog nipping at my hocks.

The day will come for you to draw
the bright sickle of the moon

across my wooly throat.
Do it with love, without regret.

Last updated October 20, 2022