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  • Writer's pictureErrol Rubenstein

DESCENT

The surface: crystalline, aquamarine,

as we dive deeper, deep cobalt blue,

the light dimming as we


approach the wreck, bubbles like musical notes,

a symphony of submerged air, rise.

The pressure of seawater like a coffin,


breathing more difficult,

a troubling susurration; deeper and deeper

we dive, spears of light fading.


Into the dark, the all-encompassing blackness,

the blind leading the blind.

we grasp for handholds, iron mast,


side planks starboard, pocked, rudder rotted,

sails now destroyed and gone, the rusted hull,

the bridge and forecastle in gloom.


Fish slide by, barely visible,

unconcerned with us, self-absorbed, ignored by mantas.

We circle the deck,


eels appear from hidden hollows,

shy, timid, frightened of discovery and danger.

The wreck; behemoth, corpse, Goliath


beneath the waves,

rusted steel and moldering wood.

A hundred or more sailors.


And the apparition of a skeleton

slowly, silently, slides into my view and I wonder,


with my balding and graying hair,

how much longer until my own bones

are buried, not beneath the sea


but six feet under

soil, with a headstone marking my death.

I hope to be remembered.

I hope I will have touched a young person’s life,

I hope that my loved ones will put flowers on my grave.


We sight the bottom-most hold. An hour has passed.

We have air enough to last us until we surface.



Published in Sincerely Magazine in 2020

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