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The Captain Flies

Tell me true, friends: how often have you thought of Captain Hook as a disabled man?

-Amanda Leduc

 

in the sea-tilt sway of my bed, i exhale, starbound.

with a fistful of childhood i witness

in technicolor, the performance of

the boy

the ship

the hook

the tick

tock

tick

tock

tic

Neck to shoulder, shoulder to neck—

Head turns down, fist curls inward

Nerve sparks sharp, an iron point.

 

in some old never place, the sound of children’s laughter:

my memory, the absence

my body, the joke.

a figurehead abandoned in waters becalmed,

i am aged and embittered by the violence of youth.

 

Neck to shoulder, shoulder to neck—

Socket to ear, to ear

Wrist grinds to a pop.

 

i hold no animosity toward the crocodile.

(what in this world doesn’t hunger? what in this life doesn’t need?)

and still i cower grief into cruel ambition

sail circles around the thief above,

grit golden teeth against the tick

tock

tick

tock

tic         tic        tic

tic         tic        tic

    

Neck to shoulder, shoulder to neck—

Forearm to bicep, to bicep

Muscle groans under pressure.

 

traitor is the neck tilted skywards;

holy is the hand which rots within the beast.

there is a boy who hollers down to me

the things of mine he’s stolen.

there is a ship that i have loved

a home where i can only lose.

there is a hook that makes him tremble

makes him trouble, makes him taunt—

makes me wail in thrashing fury against the tic

tic

tic

tic

tic

tic

tic

 

Neck to shoulder, shoulder to neck—

Ulnar throb, radial pressure

Fingers twist toward one furious arch.

 

a happy thought disrupts the motions:

tender on gut strings, a hook.

sweeping mauve on sturdy canvas, a hook.

carving life from cedar plank, a hook.

 

a man soars upwards in all his years,

(a villain and a coward),

and a boy cannot remember the end of his joke.

in his hand

   a hook.

in his eye

   a hook.

in his heart

    a hook.

 

a hook, a hook.

 

(Editors’ Note: “The Captain Flies” is read by Erika Ensign on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, 42A.)

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Avi Silver

Avi Silver is a spec fic author (Sãoni Cycle), editor (Augur Magazine), poet, and co-founder of The Shale Project. Find their short fiction in Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology, and more of their poetry in Strange Horizons. Learn more at mxavisilver.com or on Twitter @thescreambean.

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