A bottle bobs on the water.
Everyone knows there’s a message.
Everyone can see the slip of paper.
Everyone is sure the scrawled words
will confirm what they always
held to be absolutely true.
Everyone is, of course, wrong.
There’s no paper in the bottle,
There are only the remains of a label.
There’s only an ancient cryptic symbol—
Black. Crossed bones and a skull.
And there’s a little bit of air, like hope,
keeping the bottle afloat.