Dazzle Ship – Jessica Mookherjee

Dazzle Ship

*Dazzle camouflage (also known as Razzle Dazzle or Dazzle painting) was a military camouflage paint scheme used on ships, during World War I and II. The idea is credited to the artist Norman Wilkinson, used to disrupt vision, forerunner of modern pop art design.

Into this low falling search light, I’m a camouflage
of stripes disrupting this empty ocean. You are a battleship
marooned in this house. Everything turns up as I keep still.

A becoming of fragments, sediment collects to crumble
in colours of dead leaves disguised as person. I walk
into a garden, where I’m greened with aphid. It’s Autumn

and I’m on alert, sonar, radar might kill music, expose,
gives me away. It’s the sound of a washing machine,
the wind, a car alarm – insistent, broken-laughter green.

The stupid light is dimmed and I repeat our history tapped
in morse code on your shoulder. I can’t make you out.
I remind you the war ended in the Autumn. We can make art.

You give me an old box camera, show me three fingers left
on your rifle hand, I don’t know what it means as I stride
with darkness on my face hoping I can dazzle on the horizon.


Jessica Mookherjee is a poet of Bengali origin. She grew up in Wales and now lives in Kent. She has been published in many print and online journals including Agenda, The Journal, The North, Rialto, Under the Radar and Antiphon, Salzburg Review and Bare Fiction as well as poetry anthologies.She was highly commended for best single poem in the Forward Prize 2017.  She is author of two pamphlets, “The Swell” (TellTale Press in 2016) and Joyride (Black Light Engine Room Press 2017). She is author of two full poetry collections, Flood (2018, Cultured Llama) and her second, Tigress is published by Nine Arches Press ( 2019). She is co-editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press (alongside Abegail Morley and Karen Dennision). https://thejessicapoet.wordpress.com

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