Northwords Now Issue 36

The FREE literary magazine of the North

The Rig

by Iain Twiddy

If people can live on an oil rig
drilled in to the middle of the sea –
like a rickety metal spider,

braced and craned, cranked, straining-platformed,
like landing gear on a distant planet,
or a pond-skater sunk to its knees

in mud, the tides tugging at the feet,
wind the only solid thing in sight
jerking like vultures at a carcass –

if men can work there, leeching the earth,
the sea as deep as the air above,
like walking outside without trousers;

if men can sleep suspended above
the bed, the cold their only blanket,
when one deep lurch could bring the whole thing

matchsticking down, one spark flood the sky
with a ravenous cataclysm
as the oil spurts like an artery,

then surely I can dig in a bit
longer here, with less of an anchor,
until the reason begins to flow clear.