The Box

She knows well what the chest feels like
smooth-worn boards, pale like ashes
cut from forest wood, grown from forest wood
away from barren-rock-salt-air,
grained like cloud-drift coming down on cliffs
hiding all the sea below
lid long as her two white forearms
freckled now in landbound sun;
hinge and lock of cold hard iron,
she trembles as she touches it.

Forming in her mind, the iron key
implied by the small dark gap; an eye
opening in the night, before
settling back in snoring; heavy-limbed
he tosses like the waves turn over,
pulling her under in close embrace;
tonight the lock is all she sees,
cradles cannot cover it.