cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
[personal profile] cedarmyna
April 15, 00:30

The architect and the captain are the first to realize
they aren't going to make it to New York.
Music and voices drift in from the deck, amplifying the silence
on the bridge, where they stand together staring
at the plan of the ship, unmoving, unspeaking, like ice.
Two simple facts are blindingly, immutably clear:

The ship can remain floating if four of the front compartments are full,
but the water has flooded five;

The lifeboats can fit 1,178 passengers if filled to capacity,
but there are 2,240 aboard.

The architect stares at his hands and lies to himself
that there's some small, cold comfort in the knowledge
that at least he won't be around to feel the shame
of his mistake revealed to the world in the morning.
When he speaks, he means what have we done?
but he says, "What do we do?"

The captain looks away. "Tell them to lower the lifeboats,"
he says, "and tell the band to keep playing."

February 2011

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