Poems for Kent: Q

Illustration by Rockwell Kent for the 1930 Lakeside Press edition of Moby Dick

Illustration by Rockwell Kent for the 1930 Lakeside Press edition of Moby Dick

Sharp enough
for whale flesh

sharp enough
for a shave

hand-soap and lather
glint of mirror
glint of morning light
on harpoon head
sharp as fear

mirror reflecting
Queequeg, Ishmael sleeping
and through the
curtainless window beyond,
New Bedford
bustling with whalers
of the world, ships at port
ballasts full of
pacific, atlantic and indian

__Queequeg with Bible

Queequeg with bible
in lap
measuring its contents,
50 meaningless pages a turn

a turn toward the window
toward Ishmael
toward the storm
blackening beyond

the room lightened
for an instant
or three
before the crash

enough time in that instant
to see
to read
“you cannot hide the soul”

Ishmael finds,
written in wrinkles
across Queequeg’s broad brow,
the will of god

tobacco, burnt biscuit
offerings for idols
tattoos becoming text
becoming story
meaningless until the next
lightning flash

Reach out and touch someone....

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