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  You could have a big dipper   

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

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