Sea Legs

You never hear the people
who jump.

Their steps echo on decks
above in consonants spit after

It isn’t a language you study
but frays of split
rope, splinters and simple carving
in cedar, where a blade
is pulled.

It’s silence, finally
when the ship tosses its ghosts:
drying watermarks, no
letters of intent.

The dead, you guess, were once
cast aside in lungsfull.

Maybe you trace tissue to the edge
to find forgotten tongue and speak
to complete the fragment.

Scott Hammer’s other poems have appeared in magazines such as Poet Lore, Lungfull!, Can We Have Our Ball Back, and Freefall. He teaches English at Bodine High School for International Affairs in Philadelphia .

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