Come to me with glass bottles hanging from the yolk
across your back. Mix a thick paste for wings
to make me a bird or gills to breathe underwater,
down where the blues turn to purples and are filled
with weeds that only grow in the dark and eggs
that hide deep within the shells.
Sea slime to coat me anew, supple
in my moving and loving, waxy as the boat that slides
against the waves, its wood sound and hard beneath
the feet that pound its planks, sea that beats its bottom.
To be a fish or jellies filled with phosphorescence
to guide the sailors home.
Gutted by the sun, I am nothing but this thin body
that seems so small, but then my heart is alive
and my soul clings to it like the sails of a ship
to carry it home. Their white cloth a soft grey
in the moonlight. To be the whale swimming beside me,
massive and beautiful and unhunted.
Its small eye watching as I watch its back stretch out
as wide as a patch of earth that could never be owned,
its own country, its own universe of dreams
that dive below and rise again
with gusts of life and stars
that fall onto its great back,
sliding free into the night’s black sea.
All works © 2017, Shelley Hesse. All Rights Reserved.