When he washed up, magnificent, we brought in
timber, nails and rope to build a frame
about his bones; we strapped his arms, his feet,
his neck, afraid he might lay out his sex to piss
upon our town. By the time we put our trust in him,
he was resigned; and when finally released, he lay,
dejected, too tired to eat. We shovelled fast food slowly
down his giant throat. He grew fat, we despaired
as he clogged up. His sad smell spilled
like some horse-rotted jungle lily; gulls barged
for space on his bloated belly. Until,
one morning, we discovered him, passed away,
skin blistered red and grey by sun.
Gulls took his death as permission
to streamer his guts with beaks and, shrieking,
lash them out across the groynes.
Days ebb out; a cottage industry uncoils,
as if direct from marrow bone, to make predictions
based on lungs, his intestinal map across the sand:
signs of how the world will end.
His forehead shifts as sand retreats; his torso
shrinks beneath our gaze; and now his hollowed head,
with old-mastered gauze, caves in, collapses out of sight,
to leave a promise in the flats.