Vasa Leviathan

Awning tattered loose in the wind
          and rain; sunbeam marks a clot
          of albumenoid sperm, half-drying
on the tiles. Prosperity’s banners frame
          a concomitant rise in “lifestyle”
          diseases, spotlit Mormon Tabernacle
card slipped into a first-grader’s
lunchbag; the smear of banana; redolent

                    The war is the crawl
          at the foot of the television
display, body counts ticked off
in pixels and automatic Nielsen
          Ratings. Precious fluids, congealing
          and refined, white as the gloves
on a lager heiress’s pilot hands.
Belts and webbing bulge the prosthetic

                    Ahoy for the cities of ferries
          and kayaks, waterways of Venice,
Stockholm, New Orleans, Amsterdam.
Aseptic Swedish beauty of straight lines
          and white spaces, blips
          of color punctuating the blank;
I hobble through the rain
on cobbled streets, lanes and closes
          rising up at outlandish angles
          from the puddled leaden
bay. The Vasa, dried and trimmed
and swallowed in gloom, haunts
          its vast interior. It waits
          to eat us all.

Mark Scroggins (© 2009)