unpeel me from my skin & let us wash it in the sea;
the salt will scour sediment from my capillaries.
glistening & exposed, I will pull down the sickle of the moon
& scrape my tendons clean. if we touch, you will find me
like the segments of an orange: membranous & soft
beneath your fingers; flesh giving, but liable
later, it may occur that oceans have beds:
that strange sentiments may settle to the bottom
like the dregs of ancient sharks. the ravelling of me
is a thing of quiet veins, bones turned fibrous
with moonlight, fingers unspooling into sound
& longing. there are such creatures in the depths,
after all; I am permitted to become gelatinous with silence.
of such things are lives remade: slow patient stitches,
the curved needle bone-carved in your grieving hands.
beloved, did you string it through with spider silk,
have you washed full well in snowmelt? I am amorphous &
malignant, love; you must not be subsumed. if you must
preserve the skin of such a creature, is it not enough
to weep over the shell? there is no need
to gather such foam as may linger at the tideline,
fat glistening & unwanted among the kelp; no need
to press forgotten flesh into old forms.
there are tides, my love, and tithes, and things
I would not have you pay; cold hungers drifting
like millennia across the peaceful deep. I am not
the one you lost.
but oh. your touch is fire. and I am weak.
© 2020 Jennifer Mace