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- Drug use
in severall of the buts of beare, great heapes of stuff was found at the bottom of the buts not unlike to men’s guts, which has alarmed the sea men to a strange degre.
—Admiral of the Fleet Edward Russell
There are the worms we bring with us, festooning
our stomachs like crepe streamers. There are the worms
who bring themselves, ninjaed in the potting soil, wrapped
around roots, a filth-mouthed stomach. But you, O Self-
Generating Specimen, are like bees from a sheep’s body,
decomposition buzzed into being, an uncaring slough
of yeasted slop. Sailors eat weevilled hardtack, protein
swimming in weak tea. Old meat green with age,
gray from boiling, made bloody from sore gums, seesaw teeth.
O Great Heap, O Intestinal Visaged, you’re drunk
if you think fouled beer won’t pass these lips. You’ll be drunk
by my kind or the sea-spawned scavengers. Our unintelligible guts,
our inverse insides we were never meant to see. And yet,
O Maelstrom at the Barrel’s Bottom, your pink-purple ripples
so perfect, so undulate, O Unshelled Snail, I can’t look away.
[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from Derek Nason during our annual Kickstarter.]