BellaOnline Literary Review
Kooki Kool 2 by Mark Berkery


Off the Keys in the Red Witch

Dennis Maulsby

My catamaran’s scarlet striped bows rise and fall,
cut the violet-humped sea.
Her sails, slivers of white, she and I alone
on leagues of dark, broken-topped water.

The Witch’s twin hulls slap cross-seas; fling foam fingers.
Salt spray stings razor scrapes from my morning’s shave.
Air spills from canvas, it flaps and whip cracks. The rigging
bass-hums, rudders over hard, the boat tacks.

Lightning-veined black thunderheads chase us inland.
The cat and I race before storm winds, bows submerge
and lift. My weather-tangled hair blows back,
stiffens into random mineral-crusted dreadlocks.

The boat scrapes over a barrier reef’s gold-brown spurs
into choppy white-capped waves. The boat shudders.
The jib sail rips from its fastenings, wind-wraps
around the forestay cable. My heart beat spikes.

The Witch and I toss above seagrass meadows. Beneath us,
distorted through the Gulf water’s pulsing lens,
green blades twist and entwine, writhing Medusa snake hair.
The iron-rust scent of ancient seabed burns my nostrils.

A last great ocean surge. The cat plunges into billowing
thick mangrove swamp. The trees’ waxy spiked leaves
swat the rocking mast. Mainsail lowered, I tie down
fore and aft to brown, knobby kneed roots.

The stalked eyes of tree crabs peer from branches.
Unleashed rain slashes and beats against the leaves, against
my clinging tee shirt and cut-off jeans. The Witch’s
aluminum hulls crazy-rattle — wild Heavy Metal snare drums.

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Reader Feedback:
You're safely out of the storm? But maybe not? It was a lark when you started.

Dennis's poems are always vividly alive and wonderfully crafted. He is one of my favourite contemporary poets.

Winter Solstice 2011 Table of Contents