Hastings Hensel

Winter Inlet Arrangement

Everything in pain: scar lines and scrapes
of gray cloud, gull-scream, crushed shells
slicing the tin sheen of the pluff mud bank.
In pain: a bloated ribcage of marsh grass
floating by on the wind-stiched surface;
rock jetties accepting their punishment,
assaulted by salt-spray, without objection;
bullish oystermen kneeling in the low tide.

But nothing heals. Everything in more pain:
clear water, starved, and in it the stone crab
waving its heavy claw for help. Even the tide
in pain: roaring pin, screaming out. A cold rain
falls on the empty traps. No flounder lie flat
in the honey hole. Cannonball jellyfish explode.

Hastings Hensel is the author of a chapbook, Control Burn. He lives in Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina.

Read Austin Segrest’s marginalia on this poem here.