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.