my lids close and your eyes open:
silt-rich and promise-thick,
chocolate pools for wildflowers
if I could only
I blink—you ringlet up,
snail-curled inside your shell. A spiral
I can’t pick from
endless, shapeless sands.
But when I write—I feel you,
fingers small and fat in mine,
we ink each word together
we make sticky prints in sap.
Who are we, are we starfish?
Hand-cups sucked together fast?
I taste your salt
I smell your tang
Girl-Beast wake and wail with me
Pack your wounds with rocks and mud
Let growls rip betwixt your teeth
Be killer, hunter, fighter, thief,
Give no mercy, no relief,
Spill truth with flesh and blood!
Mar is the sea
but not this sea
not these predictable currents
not these precise, breaking waves.
Mar is a riptide
the flow under the flow—
she sinks where they rise,
retracts where they push.
Beware swimmers, who use only your eyes
hypnotized by peaks cresting
and neat lines of foam.
Mar’s fingers are seaweed, the deep and the dark,
Mar’s whirlpools are hidden
spinning down coral shoals.
Seagirl stop stroking
in peak, crest, and fill—
See instead with your skin
with your scales
with your gills.
Sandpaper Place, Aurora
I have been here before, in this Sandpaper Place,
I know these stones by chilling heart
Sometimes they are ragged, slicing my palms,
bright clear windows,
There were times I curled under, away
From the Sandpaper place.
Built my nautilus outward,
spun from bone.
Fingertips in, pill-bug snug, soft worm skin
But it’s been long since my wings broke that skin.
Cocoons cannot fit me
(nor this Sandpaper Place),
pinkened palms can’t survive in the sun.
I grow suction cups now, inside hands, down both wrists,
Reach out wide, splay myself to cold:
Sister-limbs fuse as one
Girl-beast chain, sister-strong, woven tight:
Isla and Sasha, Marena, Hilo’s siren song:
No fear, be brave, Forward fight!
Forged in fire
small and dark and shaped in coal—
black ash shadow
the sun can never move.
Around you, halos of blue turn red,
smudge, you spill,
a chrysalis of smoke
your cloak, your softest sinew.
Fire-boy, boy bleeding coal,
You were born in flame.
You sear my skin, Red dance begin
Let ashes singe my name.
We’re travelers, you and I,
though our maps are not the same:
yours span mountains, ridges and peaks you can feel;
Mine run flat like the plains.
(But traveler-woman, you and I pulse with the self-same gift
We breathe the same sky, drink the same wind, move endlessly in search)
Today on the horizon I glimpsed you strong and tall:
You towered sheer above me— a beacon for the birds.
And did you feel me underfoot? Slipping dark and deep?
My coverlet of silty silk? My hair of milky weed?
We hunt apart, as vagabonds, and though we never meet—
You’re my sun,
and I’m your root,
and between us orchids grow.
Your Mermaid Heart
We’re stalled in currents. In irons.
We once dove down sprays of kelp
for snails and sapphires.
Now we’re cross-ways to the wind.
Scales are not skin.
They shear in waves and words
—or No Words—
Your hair, like sea pulp, knotted tight
Around the clam shell
of your mermaid heart.
We’re swift in currents. Down spiny sprays of kelp we dive, Run hands through leaves to hunt for snails and sapphires.
In rain we sing high siren calls you can only hear beneath the surface.
Aboveground it sounds like keening, or silence.
Skin is not suited for the tides, and Anemones collect our wave-shorn scales. Your hair twists with mine in pulpy tangles around the clam shells of our mermaid-hearts.
The Lost Girls
Nomad girls are Lost Ones too,
with leaves at foot and crown;
they too seek shelter in the trees,
drink Red and Gold and Brown.
their circlets made of steam and rain,
their lashes powdered ash,
they’re firelight, they’re fox’s kill,
they’re blood and sweat and scratch.
Lost Boys fly forever, and crow the rising sun.
they play all day in Neverland, their laughter
but Lost Girls live underground:
they steal from hole to hole.
They drink the shadows, wear the night,
and paint their cheeks with coal.
And when the wind turns colder,
they split a doe and climb inside.
wraps their hands,
dead muscle soaks the light.
You’ll never tell what’s girl, what’s beast,
once bloody fur’s been trussed—
so think your happy thoughts, Lost Boy,
wish on your Fairy Dust.