Charlie Bourne '23
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.
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,
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.
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.