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Of the Beast | Sean West

I sit in the belly

of a whale, play

house in its mouth

Run my fingers along

baleen plates, brush

through bristled rows

with a sledgehammer

I pretend it’s a beard

or drywall. I imagine

you had a beard, make

believe you knew how

to put up plasterboard

I picture Jonah having a hard

time with renovations, try

my hand at repainting pink

walls blue, entertain idea

this was your favourite

colour, build two armchairs

out of coral, live off krill

for seven weeks, get skinnier

than Ishmael on his coffin, carve

cushions from blubber floor, dry

hands on seaweed tea towel

do not bother with plumbing

I’ve heard whales flush

out most dead weight here

with just a swallow.

Sean West holds a BFA in Creative and Professional Writing. In 2019, he was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. He currently interns for Ruckus Slam Brisbane and co-produces Ruckus Youth. He also writes for Jawbreaker Zine and Lithium Magazine. Find more at

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