“Enveloped in whale-lines”: A Poem -The Toast

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(Incorporating words and phrases from Moby Dick)

here is a rifled heart, half-unhinged,
by the visible absence of the whale;
bare words and facts cannot sustain
his vision of that beast, twice risen
to the surface; he needs the very thing
before him; as a relic or an omen,
its being is no more than an almighty
forlornness, an outline and skeleton
lacking flesh and muscle, mere lath
and plaster, where he desires a wall.
This mortar will not clamp to the surface,
it has no stick to it.  Therefore, what
is he left with?  Only a pile of dust
and a scrimp of gray skin: one day they will say
that such a creature could never really have existed

Illustrator: Stephanie Monohan is an illustrator living in Brooklyn. She is drawn to the sea, the occult, and the occasional cute anime girl. You can see more of her work here and here.


Michalle Gould's first full-length collection of poetry, Resurrection Party (Silver Birch Press, 2014), was a finalist in the Writers' League of Texas Book Awards. Its opening poem was adapted into a short film for the sixth season of the Motionpoems webseries. She lives in Hollywood, where she works as an academic librarian.

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