In St. Mawes

In St. Mawes

Once, in Tampa, we made a drunken
habit of jumping off bridges into the bay,
where luminescent algae set our bodies
aglow. We looked like toxic merpeople.
But this isn’t Tampa, and I almost drowned
in the bay, so I watch the jumpers, watch
my wife and daughter, the sole Americans,
and the only ones in bathing suits, jump
off the ancient quay. I consider, oddly,
how the Creature from the Black Lagoon
was filmed in Florida, and is an iteration
of Grendel, and how intrepid saints have
a fondness for banishing serpents a’ la Beowulf.
Existence is an Ouroboros. You come here,
and you jump, if you’re one for jumping,
as I’m not. Mawes. Maudet. Maudit?
Cursed saints preserve us. Sometimes
a thing, a place is defined by what it isn’t.
Cornwall isn’t England or Brittany or Ireland
or Wales, and across the harbor, in Falmouth,
is castle Pendennis. I’m always elsewhere.
In some towns, even the locals look like foreigners.
Strange that they have palm trees here,
in Cornwall, and saints you’ve never heard of.

 

Image Credit: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), IMDB.

About the author

Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert was born in Louisiana and grew up in Central Florida. His writing has appeared in Broad River Review, Emrys Journal. Tipton Poetry Journal, Madcap Review, Sky Island Journal, Into The Void, Spry Literary Journal, The Gambler, Deep South Magazine, Cortland Review, and many other places. He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations, one Best of the Net nomination, and was a Rash Fiction Award finalist. He won third-place in Glimmer Train Stories’ Very Short Fiction Award, and is a five-time finalist in other Glimmer Train contests. He is the author of the poetry collection Heat Seekers (2017, Cherry Grove Collections). He lives in Northeast Florida, with his wife and daughter, where he works in a library and teaches part-time at the University of North Florida.