︎︎︎ Alexander Joseph
︎ JAN 25, 2022

at dawn I saw a snow-white
seabird curled humbly in a
ball, whose belly was perf-
orated by the arm of a doll;
washed up onto the sand
from an ocean with far
more plastic swimming
inside it than fish:::though
in all honesty, you would
be a damn fool not to admit
how fantastic that plastic
is:::so light & springy, yet
somehow tough as steel…
I remember once seeing it
wrapped like a necklace
around this whimpering
seal...It had constricted her
throat until finally sinking
into the skin; carving out a
gory groove as her body
grew in:::keeping that secret
ring hidden the way trees do:::
and together, as one they fused,
she & her ever-deepening wound…
so deep, the vet ruled that if he tried
to extract the plastic she could die,
as though it were a conjoined twin       
following her around from within:::
so he poured an iodine solution, then
rubbed it in as she barked and whined,    
shivering with scared, gentle eyes…
after he was through, I watched her
slide across the shoreline, then slow-
ly prop herself up, only to cower
back down:::slump-shouldered
under turbulent waves slamm-
ing hard into the lacerated
muscle where her neon-pink
choker is bound:::wound tighter
than a noose; harboring the
kind of pain that only a
beheading can remove.

Alexander Joseph
is a poet, artist, and songwriter. In 2007, he won the Jack Kerouac Prize for Poetry from the University of Massachusetts. He was born and raised in Boston, but currently resides in Trinidad & Tobago, working as a web developer. Some of his artwork is featured here.

Also by Alex: Love Poem