Monolatry

Three steps into the deep water before the sandbar fell away
and the boy was grasped by the ocean
dark fingers of kelp and steel gray
And he was gone, 9 years old and lungs filled
with the miasma of the gyre.

Sightless eyes drew the inquisitive wrath
of the spirits of the water;
they who had feasted on the madness of mariners
as though it were a succulent meat; the delicate touch
of small gods who built empires on the boy's body
for the idolatry of plankton, before belief failed.

And still the boy hung frozen, laved in salt
from a thousand thousand rivers
hair billowing like fine fronds of water weed
his mouth placed in an unended cry
until the deep ocean claimed him. Mortal remains
were beheld by the eyes in the unlighted places.

When the boy woke, a score of years onward
the first breath was the appeal of fire
Nails ragged and hair stiff with salt
he stumbled three steps back to the sand
And prayed a debt of thanks to the storm-maker
who had returned him in exchange for worship

2 thoughts on “Monolatry

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