Gulf Song

Novena cover

Back to Novena (remixed).

There is an artery in the coastline, fingers spread,
bayou beckoning to the sea to come in
and travel up my arm. Gulf trajectories: seagulls
fly overhead, following the fringe of my fingertips
inland. The ocean climbs up inside my palm,
reuniting with river at the mouth of my life, which is
made out of little veins. Water: it is how
I live, how I came to you as a cloaked land
with veils of trees, wildflowers, and tribes traversing
the backs of my hands, up my veins, into my breasts
and belly. My womb has seen
millions of red men and women exit,
hug close to earth and feel me breathe,
and call me home.

I have billions, trillions, a galaxy of creatures
living just beneath the whorl of fingerprints. Crocodiles
in my teeth, turtles in my jaw,
pelicans and people in my pulse.
At an intersection in my wrist of unoxidized blue and bone
there sits an egret, white with sorrow, white with the sea foam
that I baptize my forehead with. He is
oil christened, stained with brown, feathers slicked down. You birth
dead dinosaur bones from the trenches in my knees,
caverns in my colon, light your fires and call them
Viet Nam’s children, little tragedies lit
when my eyes grow dark each night.

Candles do not burn in the ocean,
and boats cannot swim in God’s acre. There is
a necropolis of expired lives, scaffolding and chasses
of iron and bone coughed up and vacant on the ocean floor. It will
lie beneath this shroud of oil that burns and congeals
within the reach of my fingers. Let the poison
travel up my arm, hope that venom can be sucked out
by a kindly mouth and a bittersweet tongue. My wrist
is still knitting itself together,
bone halves seeking solace with each other
after being shattered apart by a hurricane hammer. And there is

no prayer for this, except for the cry in your own throat,
except for the children of mine that you wash the oil off of
like they were your own babies,
except for the sickness like tar balls resting
in the hollow behind your navel,
except for the fire launched from the soft beds
of your own tongues. If you find that prayer,
say it for me. I will need it to survive.

2 Responses to Gulf Song

  1. Pingback: Novena (remixed): New Chapbook Released August 14 | Raven's Wing Poetry

  2. Pingback: New Poem, New Book, and Sneak Preview from Rock the ‘Ville Performance | Raven's Wing Poetry

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