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This poem is taken from PN Review 232, Volume 43 Number 2, November - December 2016.

The Cabin Boy’ & Other Poems Gabriella Attems
The Cabin Boy

Now was November, the days spooked
with sea light. On board the Sylvan he thought
of the coppices back home, of the gusts dragging
leaves around the spinney. Too poor to have him

learn a useful trade like shoe- or wheel-making,
they’d been sad to see him go. But hadn’t he
taken to this like a clam to water, his knees
flexing with the surge and pull on the towering,

plunging castle that was the three-master. There
was something familiar in the song that crept
into his sleep, something the wind had brought
to him in the rustling of leaves, something

he’d overheard in the landing of geese, like
a rumour of salt and distance in their feathers.
He was near the trapdoor when it happened,
a smell of gold ripe sun rising from the hull:
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