In pitchdark water tastes sweet.

The men feel their swollen tongues
unfurl like golden flowers
in their blind mouths.

The sounds
of their breathing

the only sound.

How their eyes glide like mad in their sockets!
How their hearts beat in their chests!

“Let me out! Let me out!” They seem to say.

They pat each other’s legs, squeeze someone’s hand, shift
against the wall to find
a more comfortable position.

One mile above them
women keen in the sunshine. Salt-tinged air
lifts a strand of hair, the edge of a skirt.
Soot-colored birds watch from the branches
of nearby trees.

One swoops down
pecks at a woman’s shoe,
hops back when she kicks at it.

The men write their last love letters
on the leg bones of the dead, sing “Gresford”
in low voices.

They dream of blind fish in silent caves,
can’t tell sleep from waking.