She dog-paddles through the shallows,
gaping through goggles at ocean-floor creatures,
silver black-striped fish darting beneath, gills fanning out.
When her back starts to burn with drying salt
she flips over, belly to the sky, to the blinding
sun red against her eyelids.
Squinting at the horizon she pretends
there is no shore for miles around.
Beneath, silently waving black spines,
a sea urchin beckons
from a slow-dying reef.
She is, as she ever was, proud and distant,
her blood watered-down honey from the rains, her memories crumbly
sepia-and-brackish-flood prints. She, the first coal caught by high tide, driftwood spitting blue hissing in the dunes.
She walks among the mangroves humming, dress rustling
against her thighs, her eyes evolved from the soft fishlike dullness of years past, near-reptilian.
People drifted by in boats, by her
camouflaged in the banks’ shadows.
She had faded in with the island, with the sea and the sea-people
her city colors bleached out by the harsh sun
reflected and magnified a thousand times by the clear blue waters.
She belonged to them now, a ghost.
When she wakes to the riff of metal beasts
leaking petrol and crunching pebbles under
rubber, of wind-up people ticking by
in tight city shoes
she is not alone in the cacophony, she is hemmed in
as attic clothes nestle mothballs
She is nothing but solid air
hurtling toward disorder, her
inklingfair’s poetry has been published by indie trans-genre zine Paper Monster Press. She is about to give birth in the Philippines, where the coronavirus lockdown has stretched for over four months. She creates stories, verses, and storyverses of ideas at inklingfair.com.