The last death of Captain Nemo

There is a place where my son waits for me. A place where he dreams himself, where shadows are not sewn fast to the hard ground, where he can name each and every demon riding the waves, where he easily steps into

The deep filled with maelstroms and giant squid

where we watched The Beast from Twenty Thousand Fathoms, arm in arm on the old orange couch

of Atlantis and Antarctic ice shelves hiding lost

worlds of lizards, snakes, and stinkbugs we hunted until

snow tunnels led us through dusky nights to frozen forts we could
defend for days

This is an attempt to sound the midwinter ice, to step from the shore where I’m trapped between one thought and the next. The shore where I cannot drown the incessant coughing of strangers, cannot silence the lover’s voice that floats on the other side of hours. The shore where the dead wait to scrape the rime from my eyes, which is why

this is only an attempt.

Peter Grandbois is the author of seven previous books, the most recent of which is, The Girl on the Swing (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2015). His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over seventy journals, including, The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been shortlisted for both Best American Essays and the Pushcart Prize. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.