a good lie should take men,
a lot of them at once:
sailors upended. frenzy in a sinking boat,
women and children first
while a gentle captain taps softly for help.
the crew, dear men slipping under water
in striped shirts, or waiters crying out for their mothers
as the cold drinks them to the bottom -
a salty edge disproves Jesus,
silences the ship’s horn.
how do you spell the sound a ship’s horn makes?
there is no word for that,
for women and children alone at sea,
the tyrannical woman with one leg
taking an aside because of a book she read.
that whale must be here somewhere, she cries,
raises her oar, and dies trying, lost and frozen.