Your eye’s an aperture to the unnamed
and far away from its orphaned twin,
so what should I choose to receive my appeal—
the fathomless one, or the one on the left?
Never mind. Daylight has fled like minnows,
the white of your eye is a gibbous moon
that’s taking in the foolishness of me
and silent returns, unblinking as death.
Is there time to beg your infinite eye
for mercy for frivolous whale-boned gowns
and busk-bone ivory carved scrimshaw
and for every lamp lit by your flesh?
There are so many other sins I could name,
all of them rancid as days-old fish.
I think about jawbones, think of harpoons
as nouns from an unforgivable past.
I’m afraid I’ll drown in your bottomless spell
and in the mess I’ll obscure the profound:
They say you’re beginning, we are the end,
and in terms of benevolence we’re bereft.
But before I leave, can you soften your eye,
can we rise above the inglorious past,
the blubber of human selfishness?
I see. Now I wake alone and emerge
from your terrible ocean, gasping for breath.