He is one hundred years full of Atlantic cold water,
He twists inside currents revelations of ice,
He soft kisses facefirst the bulkheads of wetrust
The slowdance of years in the blackness of space.
A waterlogged astronaut face dark with eyerot
He is bones only connected by an idea of life
He doesn’t have ears to register first creakings
Of the shivering liner turning up towards light.
Under the palm press of a thick limb of Neptune
The metal begins to shake loose of its death
At first it’s a rumour or an inkling of movement
Then it’s the creaking of iron’s first postwomb breath.
Seamagick runs down all of his long bones,
Flesh slugs the white and marrow sucks through
By the time that new eyes are rolling in sockets
The ship is shook loose of the dead silt below.
Faster and faster pronged on an impossible trident,
The ship spot welds itself back from the jigsaw of wreck
He spins his new body and gasps as the heartthump
Convulses his body in the blue dawning black.
Riding the slickdeck, autumnshedding weed hair,
Breaking his mouth on a corner sky,
Hitting him fullface another millpond night,
As the ship humps the surface funnels yelling smoke
Iceberg metal torn flank, a hole shudders closed,
Seasalt blackwater spit out of portholes
Back to Southampton dragging up bodies,
Sucking bullets from foreheads, reviving sodden violins.
Paul Ebbs is a writer of children’s fiction (under a pseudonym) and screenplays for television. He has worked on Casualty, The Bill, EastEnders and Doctors. He has written comedy for Radio 4 and Doctor Who fiction for the BBC and other media.