‘Please Do Not Touch the Walrus or Sit on the Iceberg’ by Caleb Parkin

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:
I’m flying.
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