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"Ishmael, Who Will Father Me Now?"

Ishmael, Who Will Father Me Now?

Queequeg is my father.
He builds my coffin,
by hand.
My coffin that is also my boat,
with paddles and bicuits
and a bit of sail.

Queequeg is my father.
He writes riddles
on his body
that can never be told
that will molder at the bottom of the sea
that would again render Pip insane.
Pip and me.

Queequeg is my father.
He knows I will need
hieroglyphics
I can feel with my hands--
the oakum lumber and harpoon,
the grotesque figures on the lid--
on my journey
into the mouth of the white whale,
into the grinding ivory universe,
that almost ate Pip whole.

Queequeg is my father.
Hunter, harpooner,
he is closer to life than me or Pip,
who cannot see the Mystery
and endure intact,
as the one whole twisted piece of art
that is my father.
I beat my tambourine
and make up wise and senseless poems,
while the meaty shreds of Pip
hang from the whale's mouth.

Queequeg is my father.
My father died.
But I float on the coffin lid he made for me
and sharks do not bite, out of awe or lack of hunger,
and sea hawks do not tear me apart,
his orphan child
on her way
to the starry archipelagoes
where I rise and fall on waves of the coded universe,
where a whale's skeleton seems to be
the hull of a great ship,
and malady is health,
and a coffin is life-buoy,
and where there are no words
for father.