by Dillon Droege
An oceanside theatre painted in blue and green.
Festooned with seaweed from balcony to golden balcony.
On the screen, we watch the reel run out on your cosmopolitan dream.
Breach the water underworld.
Breathe out ballast like a graywhale.
I lost my sails in the squall seasons.
I synchronized my phrasing with the breaking of the waves.
Then capsized for the wrong reasons.
Bronze ripening as steel gunwales rust,
A herd of water flowers, blood-bursting tulips with red, irradiating nuclei,
Epicene and flash-frozen in sparkling effervescence.
A brackish tonic that tittles on a reef-crafted harpsichord.
Ribs measuring our plummet
Plumb it, anemone grids sway in the current.
We catch the light slot-arrayed
White and orange shot and sprayed
Cast on a broad alabaster slab with the old king’s name self-inscribed.
Through the waves…
A wrist is outstretched on a deathbed of lilies.
The skin has gone gossamer and translucent,
Her nails shine like pennies.
In the aqueous purge: frozen detritus of clocks, waterlogged books, a pocket watch’s tail in a corkscrewed hook.
Blotches of rose, string theory dripped in claret minor.
The blood vessels have burst in her eyes.
The green is floating out, wispy tendrils, windy foothills,
Winterized stones flute the king’s old cathedral.
I’ve got this conch in my hand to remind me.
And you can be my mermaid queen.
A dragged-lake dream.
Ten thousand leagues undersea battle scene.
Of sandcastles and snow wraiths, silt hanging like silkscreen.
The ocean floor shifting; a sashay of sand-crusted flounders.
I can’t breathe.
When your skin tightens up, heart hardened with salt,
And your cheeks prune both eyelids shut,
You’ll remember things you had sworn you’d forgot.
Tonight, a dead man’s chest opened up.

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