Please Do Not Touch the Walrus or Sit on the Iceberg
Horniman Museum, Summer 2019
So, I clamber up, on top of the fibreglass plinth,
rise from the chevrons of the parquet floor
as though it melted into thick-cold waves
and I emerge, triumphant and substantial,
hear my epic belly boom on the fake ice,
hands slapping flatly on the hollow berg,
relaunch my fingers as weighty webbed
fins before I tackle his avuncular mass,
high-five his suedey and ample rump.
Together on our tiny island, I offer my new
form to brisk expanses, the gritty battlegrounds
of arctic beaches. My chest proud and lifted
as a dormant volcano. Then my incisors extend,
telescopic – tusks prodding at my clavicle bones.
Whiskers, these exhilarating bristles of whisker,
tickle out from the prow of my titanic mass.
We are in tandem, a double-breasted catamaran.
We are Rose and Jack on our own luxury boat.
And when staff approach with their lanyard spears,
their hunters’ walkie-talkies, to stare up at the hull
of our little world, our Oscar-nominated forever,
I’ll look down through blubbering eyes and briny
breathlessness, then whisper in impeccable walrus:
Caleb Parkin is the third Bristol City Poet, widely published in journals and holds an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. Debut pamphlet: Wasted Rainbow, (tall-lighthouse, Feb 2021). Debut collection: This Fruiting Body (Nine Arches Press, October 2021). Twitter: @CalebParkin