Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From the Empirical Archives: Submarine by Christopher Woods

Christopher Woods
PHOTO: US Navy Imagery

Originally Published in the July 2012 issue of Empirical

Open to the public for the weekend,
my father and I go to take the tour.
The mammoth hulk of a thing awaits,
men in their sailor whites at attention,
the day brilliant as we leave the deck
to venture below where the nuclear
organs of this deep diving machine wait
in silence for the order, the moment
for which they have been created.

My father, working with one lung,
sees the ladder we must descend.
If he thinks it might be difficult
for him to manage those rungs,
he does not say.
I say, go first, take your time.

I watch his careful descent
as he disappears below me.
I think of things leaving,
how the sub will soon
leave the dock for duty,
plunge into the wet deepness
of dark nothing we will never see.
But I know there are all kinds of nothing.
I grab the top rungs, begin my own
descent into the sub, the sea,
and, soon, life without my father
going first.

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