Remember when I’d tuck your skin into my purse,
and take you to the ocean to play?
Perched atop a limestone skeleton,
a silver slip down your back,
iridescence settles the waves, the sand, your eyes;
incandescent and supple, your curves glow.
Peel back the layers, sit by me,
sealskin bustle around your hips.
Peel open the rising sun,
let the layers warm us in waves.
Salsa with me along the shore,
dip your feet into nascent nebulae;
twist abalone, cockle and cone into crowns:
You are the princess of the sea.
Toeing the shore, you call
fantastical creatures with glistening sides;
in pod, school, shiver and bloom,
Blue-black, your silhouette pours,
luminous, into my cupped palms,
smelling of salt and moonrise,
of celestial waves and a pool of stars.
The skin of your translucent temples
exposes veins, ribbons of seawater,
that lick your pulse’s shoreline.
My job was to keep the ocean alive:
Tidepools in your bathtub,
ocean spray in your hair,
foam that smells
like the crest of a wave.
Tides carried me far;
a landlocked island with no room for a seal.
You flash my peripherals;
sandy eyes, parched skin, somber smile.
There is no ocean where I live;
without me, there isn’t one near you.
You were made to paddle, surf and glide,
not drag bloodied feet against asphalt.
I will make us an ocean in my dorm:
a cavern under my bed,
an inlet to the cafeteria,
a mobile of glass, polished lime and seafoam.
The worst thing to do is let you dry out.
Please let me kiss color into your cheeks;
the waves will comb your hair;
clutch the sealskin to your chest