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Dan Beachy-Quick
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from Chapter 2--A Vain Heart
A.  Etymology of: The Unabridged (Ishmael Mulls)


      I am one—a
      Mariner who sailed through midnight
      Sea of milky whiteness: a
                                               haunting, I

      Found me of terror—. Blank-dread, dread-
      Eyed, white-lead chapter, I
      Am editor, I
                            fathom depths
                            not my own—I
      Own nothing
      But another’s page, Author Unknown.

           Drop anchor
           In ink and drop anchor
           In ocean: lead sinks

           But sails in current
           Above no bed
           The anchor is ocean’s sail, and

      I am one who sailed
      Through midnight sea: a

                                                   blank sea, a
      Sea. I suffered so—
      Beneath my captain’s madness, my own
      Book-self abridged, abridged

      While the ocean-volume in blanks
                     ocean             in blanks
                     ocean                 blank

      I swear (my hand on the surface
      Of the moonless ocean’s ink) I would surrender

      Myself to You
      For a typo: a ocean, a ocean
                        an sea, an sea
                                               but one mark, a pip, please
                                                              the empty sea—
                                               for me, spell wrong, the sea.

      Call me Ishmael (again). Call me _________.
                                                        cormorant|ink-winged bibliophile
                                                        sea-hawk|ravenous lexicographer

           Let one blue line of the lined page
           Be bed to interlined white
           Expanse of ocean. Ink me in
           The anchor if I need I want
           To need less

      The definite article above the unabridged
      Blank to define. No. A possesses, it
                                                         is dispossessed. Me—a_________. [inkpot]
                                                                                           a ________. [desires a]
                                                                                           a me. Editor—

      A “You.” Take your salt-fraught, crystal-quill, your
      Evaporated fathoms
                                       and mark me, a
                                       sub-altern, mark me
      The godly,
                          ungodly article: a—
                                                        who is a
                                                        single one? Show him

      To me. I’m writing
      A dictionary, un-

      Abridged. My riddle is:
      First Letter, First Entry: a. Who is he?

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