The water in those submerged vessels / once was in the sea. Just like / I once was a particle in my grandmother
The white curved belly of my grandmother
as she lies in shallow, twitching afternoon sleep
resembles the sails of a ship.
Blue veins dozing beneath,
pulsing along, spidering out, sluggish but loyal
in their task of transportation.
The water in those submerged vessels
once was in the sea. Just like
I once was a particle in my grandmother
and she was once a particle in her mother,
which was yet before that an atom of waves,
or a shark, or a coral,
or a grain of sand.
That endless and effusive galaxy of wonders,
ripe as red peaches, indomitable as tides
and the woman’s will—
it is of an entirely alien nature to the sea.
Yet, in the tiniest compartment of flesh,
within entrenched atoms
whizzing and whirling on ancient roads,
this galaxy is the same as that where the sharks hunt,
where the prow splashes,
where breath is ripped out.
Blue deserts haunted with forgotten things;
red caverns throbbing with a screaming want
to bite into the lips of the world.
Because my mother swam beneath the white sail,
and I swam there too,
my breath is a cataclysm
of this one particle crashing
through my skin where I floated.
still unsure, soft, osmotic flesh.
A clash, an intercourse, a dissection, an entwining.
A need as riotous and strident
as air exploding from a whale’s blow-hole, surfacing,
hungry to glimpse the sky of the world that birthed it
from between its steadfast thighs.
Do you wonder why we all know so well, even as children,
the vile, bitter bite of the sea on our tongues? Why it stings us,
why it leaves us momentarily blinded when the watery shards
strike our eyes?