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Paterson Inlet

Robert James Berry

It was mechanized lust,
derricks to haul blubber,
a catalogue of torture tools.

Fog didn't hamper winch and cable.
With spiked boots
flensers stood on their carcass
and peeled their sheet of fat;

revolving knives
cut blubber to ribbons.

They wore just mittens and coats;
no soap could ever rid pores
of such stench.

As the bluish body
wallowed in crimson sea,
two harpoon notches, flukes cut off

the sinuous curve of the inlet
was sighted, the whaling station.

See the anvil-shaped imprint of a drill
rusting hulk of a boiler room

a saw-tooth wheel
still with the maker's mark

try pots, a baleen plate.
The most poignant relic is
an old shoe.


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© Copyright 2008 Robert James Berry & Trout.