On the black shore of Kiluea, her gills flower
and suck. A hollow forming beneath the body,
the body sinking with the tide. As if the land
wants to bury the evidence, wants to hide
the thing beneath itself, drag it under the blue.
Or at least split open the fin, give her a set of legs
to die with. The order of things requires legs
to explain the clavicle, the bipedal spine, the flower
of her areola, shrivelling like delphiniums, blue
as the night, as the water, as the body
drying to wax. Death is so good at hiding
itself, the way a wave knocks you to land,
how a current steals you from land.
She could have up and left, if she'd had the legs.
We can’t turn from a riptide, either. Can’t hide
when the ocean decides to own us. Death flowers
in the lung, in the pulmonary. That’s how it is with the body;
a favourite organ turns itself blue.
At first it’s impartial, a blue
of hesitation, a hint of survival. Then the land
swallows itself dark, which is to say the body
admits it can’t walk back to the water, can’t grow legs
on demand. She is positioned like a cut flower,
photographed. Maybe she wants to hide,
but no one wants this to be hidden.
Except the shore, the unsettled water, all that blue
shifting sand beneath body. The crowd flowers
around her, clicks and touches, while the land
tries to offer her back. Tries to fasten itself legs
to move her, to reclaim the body.
This inexplicable body.
Long tail knotted into tail, hiding
itself as we hover in skirts, our legs
finned together. So hot we're bluing
at the seam, complaining about the land
that's offered her up like a flower.
Some artist finned those legs together, forged us her body.From The City Series: Vancouver (ed. Michael Prior, Frog Hollow, 2015) by Alessandra Naccarato
The way a man seeds flowers in rain, waiting for the hidden
to open its blue, for a reason to pause and turn awestruck to the land.
(Painting by Francesco.)