BY KATE BERNADETTE BENEDICT
Where the bilge bled,
what the hold held,
how the stabilizers spread their cunning wings—
as Ship’s First Matrix
I was privy to all of it,
I had the Captain’s ear.
That’s why I was so pointedly wooed.
Red had done his homework, you see.
Red is not that bright
but he’s shrewd; he comes prepared.
Guest of the wedding, I accorded him access.
I ushered him aboard,
issued him a card key,
escorted him to the galley and the bridge.
Or he escorted me.
I had the time of my life, watching him levitate.
Only I could see it;
the able seamen hadn’t a clue
what cast that rosy light upon my cheek.
The ship went down that night
in the customary flames.
We watched from the life boats
as Red plunged headlong
into the dark canal.
For a while he flapped and waved
and then went under.
I’m told I vocalized at the sight of it,
made a freakish bleat.
Hooks enough were found
to pull the Rapture up by the hull
and she’s in dry dock now
with all her sodden cargo.
Not much to salvage but she’ll sail again.