Arco, ID 2019

the desert submarine does not speak
but a sliver of daylight persists
between the sail and its concrete base

the sail is all that remains
of the Hawkbill and it casts
a deep shadow in which I stand

to escape the sun; it seems a monolith awaiting
worship because of its size and skyward posture
and the surrounding mountains

all confidential materials were removed
the placards say and the sail repainted
black before its transit from the Pacific

now like a good spy it blends in
amid the silos; it could belong here
except for the stillness of the fins

and the quiet it radiates as I move
around the gazebo of facts and circle
memorials for the lost and wrecked

I’ve told my family this voyage is research:
how the Hawkbill converted from military
to scientific vessel and once broke through
three feet of polar ice—but I drove out

trying to decipher or uncopy the long reverberation
of story and muteness that followed my sisters’
coming and going like tides between homes

I drove beyond my echoing thoughts
to see this boat that can’t dive or surface; it stands
mute, abstract, and lets me stretch a hand
toward a past I can’t remember

I am embarrassed by my ill-equipped attempts
and repeated failures to understand my older sisters
—their flights and suitcases, their anger, their gifts—
a task which at the time and for years felt crucial
but strikes me now as absurd if not futile

beside this hollow metal ghost
half weapon, half shelter
which remains obscure
behind an honor guard of pines

Ceridwen Hall is a poet and educator from Ohio. She is the author of a chapbook, Automotive (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Tar River Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, and other journals. You can find her at