Sailor into Fire

by Daniel Carter

Rocks bring me to a roaming lunge. I’m up on land’s last threaded spoke; I’m tongue-first the figure born, lost and grown away. I fell to failed promise; I met the laughing ghost. And if my back is a larder, empty but not hollow? In hollow heaven I failed to spring a lock, and walnuts’ knuckles swung me low. The train I took was leaded pipe, Pennsylvania, and your windmills tilted me. Cardboard Monday, my ticket’s good for you. Black Felt Sunday, swing me so; my back’s broke the ways you used to do. Your ticket’s teeth, and it will take me, too. Bring me up shaking, roaming the traces of pioneer ruts—in fences’ acres of burnt-back sage, I’ll hollow heaven’s trailing dash of hay and hospitality. My back sung on the field of Georgia’s heart, my tongue lashed to salt and ash—if you love me, bring me low. I’ll lick the love that cattle bring to harbor in an iron cage. I’ll tell the ghost that I have broken locks and burnished gates—I too have split my tongue to sing two ways.


Read Daniel Carter’s Sailor in Noise and Sailor in Drag
Read, watch, and hear more in our current issue