Body as Warship

by Kai Coggin

(after Warsan Shire)

The cannons

have fallen quiet

at the horizon

at all that named me prison

misdirected rage tempered by the silence

of propeller blades churning underwater

I am a movement of magnitude

tonight the sea is a restless friend

together we sway no resistance

I move she moves under me

warship heavy dance cutting waves

sending ripples that hold only

peace now not pieces broken

but a whole moving body

my ribcage builds the steel unsinkable frame

of what keeps on fighting (through)

I patched the holes in my side with lace

with flowers

I am not here for your wars

the battles have claimed their casualties

body as warship

worship this body

this shrine of unnamed heartache

no longer being the storms for I am victorious

infinite circles that could reach you

if you could hear the blip move closer... closer... closer...

my flag-tongue flapping a song of homecoming

the war is over

the war is over

this illumined bow

casting a shadow for mermaids to hide under

this starboard consternation hushed

by the gentle waves lapping upon my shoulders,

push-pulling a song of becoming


there is a hemisphere

where all the warships go to die

to rebuild themselves

into steel chapels

into churches

into grateful tombs

into windmills

into birds


and closer...

to myself

the war is over

the war is over

set me on fire

build something beautiful with my bones


kai coggin (she/hers): generally wrecking the patriarchy in one way or another for decades, especially when violating don’t ask don’t tell policies by fraternizing with female cadets. kai lives in a valley at the foot of a mountain where she writes unrequited love poems to trees and invisible women. she’s a hopeless romantic. she’s got books.