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.


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