This is an excerpt from Carrier by Virginia Robinson.


for Matthew Knight

In the hurricanes of her Hornets, all my hairs lie flat. In the rib-cracking loud of the catapult on Constellation, the jets compress sound beyond sound, sound beyond ears; men without heads could hear such a launch. Into the tumbling bloodless sea, sailors trip, become a whistling flat spin and do not pierce; they just break. The ship—insentient mother—sucks in her young with whooshing propeller blades like tongues so long and wide they could shred confetti of Mack trucks. She calls her sailors back this way—yawning and desperate; if they don’t swim away, if they died by the punch, she makes them chum. Into the great carbonation of her gargling wake, the blended ultramarine, I want to leap split-legged, wide-armed and squealing; she will not want to give me back. It takes a mile to stop but, Matthew, you will find me. Lay my body in your rack and in your red flannel sheets I’ll remember—you at the bridge to bear me into harbor, my ears slipping brains, the debris of my ribs gathering and scattering on your massive, exhausted, subsonic lullaby.