Trying for It

“Aren’t you even going to try for it, Mr. Andrews?”

The ghost I see walk­ing the rust-soft wreck­age
is Thomas Andrews, drowned Daedalus
in the maze of his own melted wings,
his con­stant note­book filled with the weight of waters,
suit­cases, coal, shoe leathers, razor strops, steel.
Silence and sub­si­dence
are math­e­mat­i­cal cer­tain­ties
like the glare of trea­sure seek­ers, flash­ing non­sense sig­nals
where the chat­ter of Cape Race still runs in the hull,
the long­ing as pre­dictable as the loss.
A ship­wright leaves his name in steam and riv­ets,
his bones in the painted waters of Ply­mouth Sound,
but the man with the query­ing brows with­out his coat on
is gone down with his heart,
the last and insol­u­ble prob­lem of the engineer’s trade:
how to bear the mem­ory, the tear­ing strain
between what we know and what it mat­ters,
a life jacket float­ing in the uncal­cu­lat­ing sea.

Sonya Taaffe’s short sto­ries and poems have appeared in such venues as Beyond Binary: Gen­derqueer and Sex­u­ally Fluid Spec­u­la­tive Fic­tion, The Moment of Change: An Anthol­ogy of Fem­i­nist Spec­u­la­tive Poetry, Here, We Cross: A Col­lec­tion of Queer and Gen­der­fluid Poetry from Stone Telling, Peo­ple of the Book: A Decade of Jew­ish Sci­ence Fic­tion & Fan­tasy, Last Drink Bird Head, The Year’s Best Fan­tasy and Hor­ror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhys­ling Award Win­ners Show­case, and The Best of Not One of Us. Her work can be found in the col­lec­tions Post­cards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Inno­cence and Expe­ri­ence (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papave­ria Press). She is cur­rently on the edi­to­r­ial staff of Strange Hori­zons; she holds master’s degrees in Clas­sics from Bran­deis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.