Limbs and Lungs – New Poem (First Draft)

Limbs and Lungs


I ate a mushroom spread sandwich and a crap apple

before buckling myself into 66% North orange overalls.

I looked like an attacker, not an observer.


People went to the back of the boat to throw up,

before we had left the shore of Húsavík.


Losing sight of the coast,

we watched humpbacks rise to breathe.

We chased them like crazed paparazzi,

water heaving over the side of the boat

like the sea had decided it was full.


I was trying to make sense of this dangerous dance

with these hushed giants of the deep,

propelling themselves forward with an up and down motion.


Guilt reached my roots.

I squirmed, fell to my knees

on the wet, slimy, slippery deck

and apologised.


I wanted to throw an offering over the side.

Tom was bringing up kleiner and coco.


They  could have drowned us all,

left us bobbing like apple cores

in a massive bowl.


But they were preoccupied with trying to live,

talking to each other just under the surface of the water,

voices loud as jet engines.

Perhaps discussing the melting of the glaciers

or the issue of us above them.


We were on the edge of a world we’d never know.

Our distant ancestors once had limbs and lungs

and walked on earth,

now gravity would crush their organs.


These grey gods of the sea

knew the world was round before we did,

are grief struck by deaths they don’t understand

and call to those they have lost.


We were asked to shout information

about their direction, fling our arms

like hands of a clock to

12, 3, 6 and 9.

I stayed quiet when I caught sight

of a blow and bowed my head.