Off the Solomon Islands

War wrecks beneath the shut-seeming sea,
under wing the wrasse and sweet lips haunt the current,
a moon signals corals to spawn.
More tree coral’s tender colored bloom.
More brain coral.
More freight of glorious rosettes.
More bombs at fifteen-second intervals.
Jellyfish drift in, inhabit for a time the engine room—
easy, and little left to fear.

The enemy, tracer-fire wane in feather stars
inching along the battered propeller.
Hundreds of feet down grouper, a tank, solitary P-51 upright,
such formations.

What will corrode and what harden here.
What can flourish.

The narrator discusses how ruin can be
an architecture, basis for a reef, can become
(he uses the living word) a backbone.

And the words gunner, redoubt, ordinance
are pulled back into the mouths
of the barrel sponge.
A.V. Christie’s two volumes of poetry are Nine Skies (1997), which won the
National Poetry Series and
The Housing (2005), which won the McGovern Prize.
Her work has appeared in
Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, and
Commonweal, among other magazines.