Hook pierced in his bottlenose, tangerine
sun-tanned barracuda boy
. articulating the magnolia-
. lavish Peninsula—invasive
constrictors weave ten feet of snakeskin
& cut muscle through kudzu
. forests, camouflaged by green hell.
. Chest-pump fueling fire
bluer than a whale’s eye, he led sublime
angelfish schools to an offshore reef, guided
lost ships homeward without lighthouses
. poised on a cliff’s edge—he is rising
out of his Atlantic baptism
like a bookworm
. when the library intercom announces
final check-outs & fifteen minutes.
. He wore a denim jacket
. bluer than a whale’s eye, wriggled electric
eels through wayward Neptune’s riptide beard.
Ancient mangrove root protector,
. orchestra conductor,
you may find him sweating bullets
. at Lake Okeechobee’s slick edge
fishing two poles at dock’s end, waiting for dusk
. like a friend—you never have to speak,
. you know exactly what they think.
Forrest Rapier is a recent MFA graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is the winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize and has appeared in Best New Poets, Texas Poetry Review, Verse Daily, The Greensboro Review, among others. He is currently a lecturer in the English Department at UNCG.