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  Cover Issue 16 THE YOUNG SAILOR


Standstill wind gave the sails
a sickness, limp and pale in the moonlight,
where all the dead men stood before me.
Swinging ropes in hand, taunting
as they staggered forward,
brushing daggers across my cheek,
kissing my skin with tarnished gun barrels,
pulling me this way and that with
brown knotted chaos.

The young sailor anonymous perched at the bow,
arms stretched out, calling forth into the night:

"Walk in Death
with candle's flare,
bathe in blood when
bones reveal bare."

And it was all he could conjure from a
memory wasted on madness.

But his chant summoned the Sirens' hymns,
vibrato in their melodies.
The dead began to dance,
movements enchanted and eradicated
until pounding hearts overcame them.
They fell with short gasping breaths,
closed their eyes and slept.
The young sailor boy at the bow screamed, smiled,
then jumped ship.

Their corpses faded when The Candle
leaked over the horizon,
illuminating land as the wind
coughed and breathed life into the sails.
They snapped at the light,
sending flashes into my skin,
warming every tissue down to the bone.

There I stood, alone,
sailing home.




SJ Paige lives in southern California, where she is an MFA candidate at Chapman University. She grew up reading ancient Greek poems and other classic works, among watching B-horror flicks and anything with spaceships. This is her first publication. You can read her ramblings and project updates on her website sjpaige.com.

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