There is a woman who whistles
from the arroyo— oh hollow bone
you have a body
you cannot carry alone.
What I carry beneath an ocean
the same color as the sky
is not my own—
though I am always yours,
collecting the fractals of falling hours,
coral scales for your necklace.
Nightly I fall from my skin to the surface
where glassworms drift in the trade winds
and sighs of porpoises billow the dunes.
Beneath the drifting sargassum blooms,
the sapphire wings of swimming snails,
I depend on the rain of the dead for food.
My umbrella, flared, is a fossil.
Oh abyssal fish with telescope eyes,
fish with luminous torches,
where are the whirling Spanish dancers?
Where are my drowned teeth, ear bone, jaw?
A crab marches its marbled shell
across the ocean floor—
as if the body was ensnared
by its own memory.
Body, I drag you like a shipwreck,
pluck the pelican-trammeled weeds
from the cracks of the gas-lit shore
to fasten into your hair nest
and some days can only manage
to sit on the deck with a cigarette
watching the tin clouds rust in the rain
and my fish-shaped bath soaps
bleed into gutters
no longer knowing blue
from blue, flesh from light,
sky from sea. I cannot echo
your absence without dissolving you,
cannot retrieve you from rock
or from sound, nor can I return you.
A freight train of shark fins,
bleached reef, plastic,
steams through the terrain of the in-between
where I wait at the depot catching dust,
holding a suitcase and your clammy hand—
where the eyes of fish
are not windows, just dreams
the world has forgotten. Like a bone
afloat on a darkening sea
the arroyo’s fluted surface whistles—
Body, have you so soon