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The Breast of the Sea

After our bloody century, the sea will groan
under its weight, somewhere between breasts and anus.
Filled with toxins, her belly will not yield new islands even though the orphans of East Timor wish it so.
The sea is only capable of so much history: Noah's monologue, the Middle Passage's cargoes, Darwin's examination of the turtle's shit, the remains of the Titanic, and a diver's story about how the coelacanth was recaptured.
Anything else is only a fractured chela we cannot preserve, once the sea's belly has washed itself clean of our century's blight.
Throbbing, the sea's breasts will console some orphans, but Sierra Leone won't be worth a raped woman's cry, despite her broken back, this shredded garment, her hands swimming like horrors of red corals.
But do you, O Sea, long-suffering mistress, have the balm to heal the wound of her children, hand to foot the axe, alluvial river flowing into you?

Poem by Syl Cheney-Coker
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