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  • By Jesse Keith Butler


After T. S. Eliot


We’ve lingered in the chambers of this sea-

slag-crusted wreckage—derelict, depth-raked, decrepit.

We grasp up past forgetfulness—hardening like a habit—

for perfect sun-furnished surfaces, flapped over distantly

by seagulls. Wreathed with seaweed, red and brown

like clotted blood, we’ve sunk deeper into ourselves.

The tide cringes back from us. The moon halves

its heft. Our unwinding dreams drift and drag us down

until human voices wake us. And we drown,

gasping and ghastly. And we drown, swamped in our clothes.

And we drown, grasping helpless hands. But all this time life grows

up soundlessly in us—deep, undisturbed, down

below our brittleness, it brims to daylight—the upsurge

of something pure and urgent and eager to emerge.

Jesse Keith Butler lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with his wife and two children. He recently won third place in the Kierkegaard Poetry Competition. You can find his poems in a variety of journals, including Blue Unicorn, Dappled Things, THINK, Ekstasis Magazine, The Orchards Poetry Journal, and Cloud Lake Literary. His first book, The Living Law, is forthcoming from Darkly Bright Press.

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