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Charlie Bourne '23

      I. Terra


Parallel bars of a natural material,

somewhere between caramel and umber,

extend to the horizon

in a sea of razed stone.

My ears are numbed by a rugged,

metronomic pulse that carries me

forward over the bars.

Onward to some distant Mecca.


The warm palette of the plains behind me

has transformed into a cooler one,

hinting at the mighty Pacific

which lies behind the mountains,

rapidly growing taller.


     II. Mare


The sea has never been familiar to me.


I was born in a mining town deep in Appalachia.


I didn’t live there long,

but it defined me.


We left when the mineshaft collapsed,

a day my father was home from work,

the day my sister was born.

His best friend died in that hole, buried under

the rocky ground, canaries chirping,

then silent,

gasping for air in the dark.


The coast was different.

The jagged mountains of home were replaced by jagged shore.

I hated the sea.

We moved to the sea after a drowning in the Earth.

I hate the sea.


My father worked in a cannery.

I never liked that idea: he captured the sea

and shipped it around the country, sending that

stinking filth to places it didn’t belong.



III. Caelum


Blue spreads beneath me as I hang

suspended in the air. Strange monsters

of metal and steam whir all around

me as I gaze downwards. My feet

dangle, with nothing saving me from

the deep but the rope tied around

my waist. Harsh barks and chirps

ring out in the metal on either side

of me, radiating from the handheld

tools pounding further down the beam.

An easy life was never something I

expected, but as I gaze past

the half-built bridge to the mountains

beyond the city, I pray now

that I’ll be given some relief.


I hate the sea, but I won’t escape it.

She’ll follow me till I succumb,

flying like Icarus to somewhere beyond,

trying to fly.

Art by Julie Kang '23

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