from The Raft of the Medusa:

after Théodore Géricault; aux naufragés

1. Unmooring

Step over the corpse
and onto our raft,

past the cameras
and onto the raft—

wherever you step, the raft
tilts toward you, tilts you toward

the corpse-colored sea keeling over
the sides, fumbling through the gaps,

swallowing its body back,
heaving you inward: it reeks

sliding over you, whatever you hold
to mean not-yet-drowned ,

the way you know the raft
is snapped masts lashed too late,

and a mast is a stripped tree,
a big stick, so a broken mast goes

stick stick stick stick stick it clacks
sidewalk-wise across a picket-fence gaps

until the raft heaves and we slide
clinging to shit-smeared slats and thighs

—oh body made stronger than water—
and you think you are home in the city

which is crowds unhoused in a Dome,
city this raft unmoored from the ship

that towed it, human weight a drag,
adrift for days past the cameras.


Brad Richard
from his book Motion Studies
The Word Works, 2011

Used with permission of the poet.

Comments are closed.