"Siren Song" and "The Boat
I haven’t always been a shipwreck—heart
chest hasn’t always been locked up with
warped sides, rusted keyhole.
The sirens sung my father and his father
and his father to sleep and left me with the
consequences of being a woman on a man’s ship.
My forefathers are all dead, and all I’m left
with is a goddamn broken wheel and a box
without a key.
I was a pirate in a past life, but I failed.
I’m failing right now, and I haven’t held
a halyard in over a century. Maybe that’s
why I’m turning to dust between my skins.
Maybe that’s why this damn box won’t open.
Grandfather swallowed the key, and rebirth
doesn’t happen like it used to. The sea laps
at my hull like a lover, but I’d rather take
a cannonball to the chest than admit I’m lonely.
I am in a boat when the light comes. Blinding
bioluminescence aches into the back of my eyes.
Plankton swim violently, churning billowing
lace-curtains of blue.
I once witnessed a wish fall into black waters
and shine so brightly in its death, I still have
flashbacks. I hope it was granted in that single,
blazing moment. Perhaps this is where all wishes
go when they are granted, to shimmer
in depths of space.
I am prepared to jump—join every fallen wish-star
in sea foam. Maybe I will glow as bright as the
luminous menagerie beneath me. My hand grazes
across tense water; all goes dark.
I am in a boat
when the light leaves me behind.
Tia Cowger is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University. A poet at heart, her work has been published in The Examined Life Journal, Gone Lawn, The Olive Press, Sheila-Na-Gig, The Coffin Bell Journal, Passengers Journal, and Wild Roof Journal.