Poem by Kaylin Brennan

Eyewear is happy to present another poem from one of my BA students in CW at Kingston University.  Kaylin Brennan (pictured) is an American exchange student studying in the UK for the year.  This is her sestina on the sinking of Titanic.

Never Feel It, Never Know

Swirling around each other, first class girls and boys dance.
One such Tom slides his hand down her back “It’s strange, you’re the only one I see.”
A heated chill drives up her spine, bursting in her eyes from centerpoint touch.
Mom can see you. Her mind settling as her heart screams.
It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok. You don’t love him. Yet. You need a break.
“I’m sorry, could you say that again? I didn’t hear.”

In the lounge there is a sign: ONLY MEN IN HERE.
Suiting the requirements, a group enters, telling their wives “No we’re giving you a break!”
Their voices become louder, laughter rumbling from fat bellies. Door and frame touch.
Can I get a fucking word in? Anger swells in the loudest man. You could see.
He is offset. In the middle of velvet and swirling smoke, cigars dropped. Scream.
Without announcement. Without notice. Bodies preparing for events danced.

In third class the cold water will pull them down first, dancing.
“Shhhh honey, everything will be okay.” She comforts with her touch.
Cloth diaper filled with piss and feces, baby girl doesn’t understand hysteria she hears.
Where is my husband? Her mother, strangely calm, not absorbing what she sees.
The door is locked. The door. Is locked. Scream.
“Why won’t you let me through? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Joints on brake.

You know exactly what he is doing. Don’t be stupid. Her words broken.
“Don’t worry though, love.” His fate is yours. You’ll see.
Fear of drowning drives her towards a closing door. Her arm and rail touch
As she slides by, some wait for what is coming. How can you just stay here?
Open air. Violins play to calm those who cannot be saved. Waltz for those who will not dance.
“I have a child. Let me on. I HAVE A CHILD.” Scream.

I am a child. I have so much to live for. Are you deaf? Can you not hear my screams?
My mother told me it was hell gettin through the crowd, a survival dance.
She said there was a man that stood up for us “Go sit there, you see?”
Is somebody ever going to change my diaper? He brushed my head in a final saintly touch.
I must have thought he was my father, something broke
As he left me. I must have wanted him back as he resigned back into the bleeting herd.

I listened, I didn’t hear.
I observed, I didn’t see.
I moved, I didn’t dance.
I moaned, I didn’t scream.
I didn’t feel, I touched.
I didn’t know the moment that everything broke.

So stop asking me, stop knowing me for this world that I never saw.
You will never know this passing moment, you can never touch it.
Leave us in our graves, dancing.
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