Capt. Seraphina Baleen


Another sestina. With this one I wanted to achieve a sense of story, more than presenting the beautiful language of a poem.

My end words of choice:

  1. Shower
  2. Pin
  3. Finger
  4. Squirm
  5. Booth
  6. Limp

Captain Seraphina Baleen

Captain Seraphina Baleen fidgeted through the sudden shower.
She readjusted her hat pin
With a no-nonsense middle finger,
Trying not to squirm
As she waited in the phone booth,
Fluffing her curls to keep them from going limp.

She was on her way to see a mustachioed man with a limp,
A man who appeared not to shower
And gave off an air of John Wilkes Booth.
It was time to pin
Him down, make him squirm,
Flash a badge while pointing a finger.

He had helped himself to a discount of the five-fingered
Variety, resorting to limp
Excuses when caught by the owners of Squirt & Squirm,
A seaside shop specializing in gifts for bridal showers.
They had phoned dispatch, saying a valuable pin
Was gone, stolen from a locked cabinet next to the photo booth.

Baleen knew she would find the man in a booth
At the Greasy Finger,
Where, for what amounted to pin
Money, you could buy a sandwich of limp
Toast with a shower
Of Ranch dressing and baby eels, still squirming.

The rain abated and Baleen squirmed
Out of the cramped booth.
She strode through the shower-
Glistening streets toward the diner, fingers
Twitching and heart limp
At the thought of upending the town’s criminal underpinnings.

You could have heard the gentle ping of a pin
Hitting the floor.  Not a customer squirmed
Or eyed the man with the limp
As Captain Baleen approached his booth,
Her trigger finger
Prepared for a bullet shower.

The town’s limpy kleptomaniac contained his anxiety within the space of the booth.
It was time to watch Baleen squirm as the customers shouted “Happy Birthday!” upon the signal of his raised finger.
He handed her the supposedly purloined pin as she was treated to a confetti shower.

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2 thoughts on “Capt. Seraphina Baleen”

  1. Wow! That was fun! I am so fascinated by the whole structure of sestinas. And you really managed to tell a clear story with lovely imagery. I especially liked stanza five.

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