Green bones of cheek and jaw, of shin and thigh
Fall and rise, to silt or sky, while adventurers tilt
Slightly and return in their cabins, trying plans
In argument for doubloons and dead men's eyes.
It is still hot at midnight, even the ponderous blades
Of the fan are sweating. Still talk is breathed
Out, there is as much uncertainty as the sea shifts.
Now the moon blindly searchlights the water, then the wind
Falls from the rigging. They will cast their die
Where incestuous currents twist against each other
And the fish are hunting with poisonous mouths.
That greed-worn map... written with a mixing
Of gunpowder and rum, pestled together
In longitude and latitude in a cave beneath a tavern
In Old Jamaica ! Will you go down
Where X marks the spot and search
Among the moving bones ? This is a chance
Like a fallen angel, and all the jaws work in a whisper
Against seaweed and shin for the taking.
First published in Hurt Under Your Arm (Envoi)