Curtis Perdue

 

The Ship-Breakers

 

they took us to the end, where the radios whined, the propellers rusted 
 
they showed us where to strangle the light 
 
they, of course, hoarded even the worst parts 
 
the hands they carried, like small corroded animals, twitched 
 
they warned us about cities of dead ships, beached and gutted 
 
they fought over magnificent anchors 
 
for weeks coral and oil were in their hair 
 
they played drums with the bones of the drowned 
 
at the end of each day, they hugged, for minutes at a time, the enormous hulls 
 
their voices thundered away 
 
they peeled off their masks and sank in the muddy tide 
 
they would looked down at their bodies, as though they had none 

 

The Ship-Breakers

 

sounds of gull 
air tangled 
 
in the clouds 
repeating 
 
repeating life 
gone tidal 
 
in the maritime 
skull growl 
 
harshness heard 
among the star 
 
in the sand’s 
skeleton slosh 
 
they can 
pretend to knot 
 
the knowing 
into worship 
 
the world into 
wordlessness 


Curtis Perdue is the author of two chapbooks: We're Happy Our Original Dance (forthcoming from Zoo Cake Press) and You Will Island (H_NGM_N, 2012). He teaches and edits inter|rupture.