chapter 28. Ahab. a poem, “MD,” by Linda Lee Harper.



A step away from the fear that licks at his sweat even as it generates it, this last sighting for most men might feel like a kiss as a prelude to flight, but not my captain who dwells in the brave forests of great advantage, endowed with the conviction of the hopelessly lost convinced they
are holy touchstone, lofty as the fingerprints of gods on stars.

Captain claims no prescience, no final vision comprehensive as skies, or as inevitable as deceit, his vengeance bound like a staff to iron prongs

ship-bound, air-flung, sea-caught, flesh-trapped, well-thrown.
What feeds the rest of us, so long adrift in his slogged and constant
struggle with the demons who gather at first light across his brow,
across our bow, ever shifts in the winds of his delusions, determinations.

We hold to what we know keeps us afloat. As long as he lives, hobbled but
propped up with the clarity of his revenge, we serve as best we can, each to his station, each to his own god, the ones swimming around the moon, the ones flying through the deep caverns of watery fens where stars go to die, where what rises steals light, wears it like a mask, rises like a blanched demon with the taste for one man, our man, the one we’ll follow to wherever the kill reaps success, reaps what he needs, a profit incalculable as devotion, as inexplicable as desires unchecked, named.

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