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Steven Bellin

Titanic Survivors Found on North Sea Iceberg

Not everyone drowned. Some--
the man with the waxed blonde mustache,
the woman with the brocade hairpin--
waited on the foredeck, the cold
envelope of air beginning to seal
around them. Her face was bruised

when they were thrown
onto the crusted shelves of ice.
See them now, frozen, standing
at a slight angle on the iceberg slope:
the mustache grown so long
it drags in green water,
the hairpin so hard it gleams.

Jackson Zoo

I studied them all:
two lemurs glassy-eyed
in a simulated tree,
nutria hyperventilating
on a thick piece of shale,

infant crocodiles slamming
rats' heads against
a plexiglass tank face.
The kids laughed like
monkeys and we stood pulling
wisps of cotton candy

away from the pink nest.
And the giraffes, licking
their iron bars for hours,
tongues long as belts:
I felt like a Spaniard
landing in Mexico, 1511,
the strange animals

glimpsed like shadows
through the jungle. When
Cortes burned the land,
they stood, flames
billowing in their eyes.

I studied them because
I've heard a captive gazelle
will sometimes leap
onto another's jagged horns.

Red Riding Hood At Sixteen

Another wicker basket
brimming with fruit: she,
too, was hungry, a shot
of whiskey churning
in her stomach.

At two o'clock the wolf
would break into her
grandmother's Dutch house.
She was late. Stray cats
followed her into the woods,

hissing. She picked
and ate an orange,
the tart juice drying
like perfume on her neck.
In the clearing, the signal:

the old house stood
with its whitewashed door
pried open, the strand
of pearls broken and rolling
on the hall's oak floor.

In a back room she leans
down to that wide mouth,
its red gums glistening.

Steven Bellin received an MFA from the University of Virginia and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poems have appeared in William and Mary Review, Cream City Review, and Cumberland Poetry Review, among others.

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