Oct. 4th, 2010

cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
April 14, 23:30

The ship doesn’t hit the ice
so much as scrape alongside it,
making a noise like a shriek harmonizing with a groan,
which resounds across the empty Atlantic
for a good thirty seconds or so.

In her first class cabin, Miss Marguerite Frolicher sits up in her bed
and stares into the dark, wondering why
the ship is docking so suddenly, and so late at night.
Men in the smoking room put down their cards
and wordlessly walk over to the starboard window.
Somewhere in steerage a baby starts crying.

In the moonlight, the ice mountain looks otherworldly,
beautiful and ominous all at once. It tears a hole
in the hull and pops out twelve of her rivets,
flooding five of the forward compartments,
but on A Deck the most spectacular effect is the snow
that suddenly starts to fall, a brief blizzard
of shaved ice – most pieces a fine mist, but several
large enough to fill a man’s hand, and a few
the size of buckets and bowler hats.

After a long pause, a ripple of applause breaks out.
The band, which had been ending its set, begins
a lighthearted reel, and a few couples resume dancing.
The men from the smoking room pour onto the deck
and pick up a game of foot-ball, using a larger chunk of ice.
Mr. Benjamin Guggenheim gazes out across the water
for a moment, then scoops up a round, flat ice piece
the size and shape of a pocket watch.

“Do you think,” he asks, turning to the nearest steward,
“That it would be possible to have this shipped home, as a souvenir?”

February 2011

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