The Coil
The Coil
Published in
2 min readJul 3, 2016



No romance in disaster, in
blanching alive when boilers
burst. Or blinded with grease,
screaming from a galley
where steam has peeled
the face from your skull;
bravery is tits on a boar
in an engine compartment
where a pipe-wrench swings
and a flotation vest is unlaced.

I think of Jacob Astor
drowning in his favorite tweeds,
the platinum Cartier, a gift
from Edward VII, chiming half
of “Witch of the Air” before
freezing on its fob into
a glittering halibut rig; Astor
wasn’t the type to save himself
with lipstick and a wig.

The 2015 Charter Oak Award for Best Historical

We are pleased to announce this poem as a Notable Mention for The 2015 Charter Oak Award for Best Historical, honoring the independent press’ best writing on historical topics. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blindly and selects the full list of 12 finalists from hundreds of entries. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final. Notable Mentions receive publication on The Coil and publication in the print journal, Footnote: A Literary Journal of History.

SEAN BRENDAN-BROWN is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently resides in Olympia, Washington. A medically-retired Marine, he is the author of three poetry chapbooks (Everything Repeated Many Times, King of Wounds, West Is a Golden Paradise), a poetry collection (No Stopping Any Time), a fiction chapbook (Monarch of Hatred), and a short story collection (Brother Dionysus). He has published with the Notre Dame Review, Wisconsin Review, Indiana Review, Texas Review, Poetry East, Southampton Review, Common Ground Review, and the University of Iowa Press anthologies American Diaspora and Like Thunder. He is the recipient of a 1997 NEA Poetry Fellowship and a 2010 NEA Fiction Fellowship.

Poem originally published on 4/22/15



The Coil
The Coil

Indie press dedicated to lit that challenges readers & has a sense of self, timelessness, & atmosphere. Publisher of @CoilMag #CoilMag (http://thecoilmag.com)