Hands Worn to Smoke by Peach Delphine
A current delivered us here,
buoyant on this surface of curvatures
and light, of motion, beds of turtle grass,
embraced by mangrove, sky of osprey
and pelican, we imagine ourselves
as people, conversant with crow
and catbird, sleeping in shade of oak,
turkeys calling across palmetto.
Steam off the coffee, drawn across table,
window licking, steam off the river
darker than chicory infused bitter,
we wake with river on our tongues,
cormorants in the current, frayed selvage
of tide wrinkles, folds upon itself alongst
worn knees of cypress, crows in the pines.
Cormorants sun, shadow lifted
from oxbow, done fishing as clouds
assemble rain, cumulus stacking
out in the Gulf, we wear day as if to conceal
the water of our birth, vague and indistinct
vocabulary, silence rendered down
from definitions flowering in the mother tongue.
Still, we are not quite people, the running stone
spins in our sleep, how fine we are ground,
a meal of uncertainties, speckled with brokenness,
from darkness we became substance,
becoming sustenance of word,
of what sea yields and the pelican carries away.
With tongs we arrange a circle of burning,
with teeth we chew the words of our nonexistence,
my first therapist said trans was a delusion,
as confident as any cleric, yet again, we are not quite
people, shadow as day unfolds into the space
between what men say they are and what they do.
Night comes singing, of moon in water,
of moth lighter even than the promises
set aside on the coffee table, shucked off
onto the floor, the first kiss, the fullness
of tide on the beach, even shore is fluid,
sea a body of change, wave shapes
this form, tongue of thorn, iron sky, waves
brittle with rain, the weight of so much water
within us, not yet evaporated, the weight
of a sea without chart or compass, a current
carrying us beyond all horizons, where absence
will not follow, where all our names are flowering.
Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Twitter: @Peach Delphine