The submarine began to lilt.
Holding her small brass crucifix,
she felt the shudders progress through
to the copper veins of the ship.
Through the viewport the forest came
dark and blue with a thin dust skin
the woods at the deep of the world
thin rusted needles, a spike pit
where white eels passed into shadows
and the leaves were rotten and white.
It stretched on and on, looming out
of the black pressure, and crabs rose
from the murk only to hide where
the vessel’s pale light would not shine
on paler carapaces. Soon
the trees parted with a clearing.
She gasped at what the mystic girl
had shown. It was true. The bones lay
in the open, in vast white arcs.
And each bone was scarred and peppered –
harpoon heads embedded like black
stars in a pale cosmos, thousands.
The skull was cracked that crowned them there –
the soaring husk of the white whale