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The Wreck of HMS Clan McNaughton - by Kirsten Luckins

fathoms under the storm-side

            under the blind lanterns of the mines

                        unlucky steamer, I lie


                        cracked, blown bulb on a littered dance-floor


Atlantic drift, draw

            the darkness over me

                        build me a scour,

                                    a long-fingered shadow of sand

                                                in my broken lea

                        sediment imprint

            for future rocks a million

million wars from

now, invisible my ions glide

            brine divides

                        rivets scab

                                    even the noblest metals die                                                                           brittle stars

            small enough to

soft, in my heart

            my saloon gives up

                        the gleam of polish

                                                                        Who have you lost?

sister ships whisper down

            secret channels, from Friendly Isles

                        to Cape Wrath

                                                                        How many have you lost?

the Georges, the Edwards,

            Christians, Riches, Wills…


Sisters, I am here with all hands

            slipped from their skins like evening gloves

                        they burst to join the sea


two hundred and eighty one skulls bowling lightly

            fives hundred and sixty two femurs shuffling

                        constellate, phalanges dot-dash

                                    as far as crabs can drag

                                                all , oh all my hands

what will happen now

            to the cargo we held?

                        can bagged wheat be sown underwave?

                                                will it grow into a sunken field

                        nodding ears silverly

            as the bells on drowned churches

that chime in folk tales?

                                                                        And who is left to reap?

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