1716 c/o Kimberly Southwick

No One’s Revenge Yet

The mangoes are always ripe, the equator
is a year-round circle. The pit is a heart,
hard and heavy, clutching the fruit.
The ocean is always blue from far away,
except when it’s red. The ocean is always
cloudy with ship and the ship is always holy
with mast and bow and the men are always
ready to show they’re ready for a fight.

When he came at the scrabbled dock,
a mane of fire around his face, he lion-roared
and raided, all take, only thrusts of a rust-dead
sword as give. Every port, a cause
for storm. Every storm a jungle-fire--
the ocean is where the heart is, blue
with blood. When he unclenched,
when time unfurled, he put an art to the spin,
to the kill, to the war that raged in his brain long after
truce and treaty were signed, traitors hanged.

Or it was stealth. A wreath of flames, hardly a holiday.
Stunned silence of dew-tinted morning, date unknown,
the raw stink of sneaking, battleworn men in torn shirts.
A faulty stitching reveals a hirsute torso, a gash
over the heart, a reminder: Each body can claim
ownership of an organ that pumps blood,
but no one, goddamn, no one can prove a soul.