Friday, 20 July 2012

A Bequest

This poem was first published in issue 29 of @brittlestarmag

When I die take my eyes. Scoop them from their sockets
with a spoon. They are to be your beacons. They will shine

an eternal blinking light. Raise my tangled hair. Shave my scalp
bare. Toss the wiry strands into the waves where, as seaweed

they will pocket the air. Slide a scalpel beneath my nostrils and
slice off my nose. Cut away my lips put them aside. Find a pair

of pliers and, one at a time, remove my teeth. They will be needed later.
Sever my head from where it rests with a cleaver. Boil up a cauldron.

When the first angry bubbles appear, drop the decapitation in. Bleach
it clean of skin and mess. Remove the skull from the soup with wooden

tongues. Place it on one side to cool. When warm to the touch saw off
the top – the cranium. Upturned this bone bowl, this crude pot is your boat.

For the sails flay my back, its leathery hide will catch the promised
winds. Go back to the nose. Holding it carefully submerge it so

its tip protrudes just above the surface of this phantom ocean. If done
correctly an iceberg will form. Steer clear of this. The lips next,

top and bottom by now blue. Laid alongside the skull-ship
they will become whales. For a while they shall swim with you

protecting you from storms but eventually they will move on to spawn.
What’s left? Oh yes – the nipples, the navel and the nails. Do what you will

with my sex and scrotal sack. The nipples will multiply quickly.
They will be the barnacles that grace the hull of your vessel.

The navel when placed upon the waves will begin to rotate,
slowly at first like a clock’s minute hand but gradually it will

speed up and become an immense whirlpool. Like the nasal iceberg,
this belly-button vortex must be avoided at all costs. The nails

will fall to the ocean floor, at this depth, settled among the silt;
they will eventually sprout legs and pincers. They are destined

to be the hardened shells of crabs. As for the rest – Whatever remains
of my plundered torso, I hope for an island, on which, after many

adventures you will become a castaway. Here to live out your dying days
amid the cracks and crevices of the rotting carcass of my swollen corpse turned

archipelago. And finally the teeth, for these a special ending. Take each one
and drill tiny holes through them. Thread them onto a string and knot it tightly.

I could have left you twenty-eight stars but instead I gift you this
lunar calendar, a cyclical abacus to place around your neck.

Wear this moon-jewellery with pride. It is my final endowment to you.
A dowry – Ebb and flow, wax and wane, gravitational pull – the tides. 

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