SPRING 2013 (Issue 78)

Kara van de Graaf

Ode to Hardtack

Everything is sweet: smell of pitch-tar, saliva that honeys
the mouth, a parched disc of tack crumbling like dust
over our tongues. Each morning we palm one, brittle,
its surface cratered – a small moon cupped in the hand.
The ship’s hold is dark. What happens there happens beyond
our eyes, life boring suddenly through. Snake-like bodies
honeycomb the stores, our bellies, ream us to the core. All day
we feel them mine us, like earth, one dark tunnel at a time.