Rat-Infested Ship Off the Coast of Britain

Rat-Infested Ship Off the Coast of Britain
Chloe N. Clark

There are bones in this ship
clitter­clatter bones and teeth so sharp
they make marks, map our hunger
across the white, off white, bones
are the color of cream just gone
sour sweet, oily on the tongue

Water is rocking us, waves are holding
us, keep us close, this wind makes lullaby
through the eaves, our mothers sung
tales to us of blades and mirrors and lovers
who turned to marble, to pebbles, to
beasts, and we slept like ice babies

remember those ice babies left in the cradles
for mothers to find in morning time, melting
to puddles, that is loss made for children’s ears,
ice babies, changeling babies, and we dreamed

of children to love us, to hold us close, name us
and feed us biscuit bits, crumbs off fingertips,
take them soft and nibble nibble

at my house, at my ship, is it a little

we scatter and sway, our legs sea­worthy,
our nails dig in wood, we wait and
watch, the water goes on, the water
is the sky is the water and we wait

we wait

They said we ate our children, our
siblings, but we eat only the dead,
we can taste their dreaming, we are the

dead, we are the living, the lived in, sweet
and sour and

it coats our tongues

Chloe N. Clark’s work appears in Apex, Booth, Diabolical Plots, Sleet, and more. She can be followed on Twitter, @PintsNCupcakes.