Now the killer whale tears apart water
arcing black and white through the cold
channel deeper than I have strength.
I attach my breaths to her and the ferry
leans with me to watch. The wind beats
on my sternum, everything is happening at once
her calves rise up and voices turn to steam and
clouds crackle at the edges with pink light and what
is tearing apart gets darker and darker. I am
moving away, the water is my skin, harrowed.
I am leaving the island. The border is closing.
The horn breaks every fiber of my language.
My throat is hollow, a wind instrument.
* I have been reading the poetry of Swedish poet Aase Berg. I love her stream of dream consciousness poetry that draws on primal, visceral imagery. In channeling Berg, I was brought back to a very strong episode I had on a ferry trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca a few years ago. Ever since I was a child who loved H.C. Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, I have been drawn to stories about the transformation of people to sea creatures.