The boat: a small craft lightly rigged,
hull burnished to the sheen of a scrying glass,
a mirror upon a mirrored world, reflecting
speed in vigorous wash and spume,
yet refusing to foretell the next liquid hour.
A cipher for the night-struck mind,
she leapt and dived like a dolphin
from crest to trough, and was thrillingly yar.
Her deck was bare and lithe; she bent to the wind
and fished along the waves, igniting phosphorescence.
No rock, no reef to wreck her,
but cross seas, greenlit water rising on its fluked tail.
Drowned canvas dragged up a glittered fathom
to kiss the moon and fall
from the dizzy height of surface.
The woman: adrift and fearless as a shark,
knowing the slide of sea on skin, its wanton slap and thrust.
Out of element, unkeeled and tumbling in the dark,
pale as a jelly in tenebrous wreckage,
she breathed as though gilled the cool density primordial.
The sea was the world, fractured blue and night,
tonic in scent, a mesmeric sway significant
as embryonic dip and drift.
The woman opened outward on the currents,
opened endlessly inward.
No drum but the heart, no ritual but the tide
as she melted and pooled and flowed
like a rush of sudden music, limbs of diffusing octaves
singing the dark interstices of buoyant stars.
The whales: navigators by constellation
crooning incantations that bind the world of deeps –
pink flare of conch, cobalt rifts and bubbled grottoes
undulant with kelp, sun from below like Spanish gold,
moon like the navel of god, the air a giddy balm,
land a distant melancholy long abandoned.
Hide to naked hide, hot in the cold velocity
of wild chop and foam, speeding ridges green-black
as night forests, they moaned their joy and rode
a planet of delirious motion, sucked deep the salty teat
and thrashed against the heaving belly of their heaven.
No fear of death, no cringing inhibition,
they swept around her, who floated open as an anemone,
as a quickened eye – they swept around her, ardent and fierce
with delight, rolling her in their jubilant wake.
They swept her away.