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Peach Delphine

-Circumference of hand and word-

-Middle name, Possum-

-Snakebird at salt creek-

-Circumference of hand and word

We offer ourselves to the Gulf
and the wind beyond, without reply,
we are not river or flock yet flow
relentlessly to the mouth of the sea
breaking on bladed oyster bar
intermittent whitecaps of laceration,
flame summons kindling and split oak,
pine shaved down to the knots, sweetwater
pools in our hands where stars bathe
before sluicing sand at our feet.

Of sable, unshaped by wind scoured wave
shell tumbled, scallop eyed we see
into darkness, tongue choking
mosquitoes cloud breath, a rookery
of unsung expectations fills lungs
as memory crawls along the branches
dropping into tide sloshing at knees.

There is the pain we inherit, the pain
we make and the other pain we are composed
of, being the husk of a word poised
on utterance, what washes the blood
of our wounds, licking us clean, looking once
at a horizon wave bound,  returning soundlessly
into thicket, shade pooling beneath oak and fern,
how do we taste the salt of these days
spiked to our bones, burnished by flames
of dreams feathered so thin they leap
to the match, wings of incandescence,
sleep is plaited in long tongues of wiregrass,
drips from dew heavy hands of cabbage palm,
rest eludes us, so much ash windblown,
all we ever inherited but cinders and shells
no longer singing of sea, a forest of mangrove
tangled in our eyes.

Cormorants, sun dried, launch into the creek,
tossing back fingerling mullet, splinters
of moonlight flashing one last time, silence
is not the reproach we were taught, water
is not the boundary of breath, what we hold
are the words gathered from each sunrise
shared beneath a sky of clouds and azure,
of small birds far from land, sleeping
on the wing, headlong across the sea,
across the curving earth, cutting the chord
of the arc, we measure each season,
each breath, by an arrival of wings
over a terrifying distance


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-Middle name, Possum-

The octopus has lodged
against  collarbone, tentacles
doing who knows what,
the body is blameless,
never quite what was wanted,
surface of the form inscribed with rejection,

the Dr, a fearless woman,
looks afraid, not
a good sign

glyphs tell a story but not the taste of blade
and blood, when you are nine
anything can be cut away,
until it can't

to be discarded
is a function of disposability,
no deposit, no refund

the machinery feeding
upon itself is inevitable,
form collapsing into empty space

the only question
is which way the wind is blowing
or how high the creek will rise

when they image
the interior they do not tell me
what they have seen

clouds piling up beyond horizon's curve
I know the great beast
has come to feed,
so it was told in the orange grove
beyond the cabbage palms,
every bird has named it thus

some of us are marked
by our own hand,
some of us have waited
since the beginning

tell me again how palm unfolds
how wing of spoonbill
reveals sunrise in the haze
of mosquitoes drifting across creek
and mangrove, wind sleeping in moss,
tell me again
before the telling
is all gone.


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-Snakebird at salt creek

You were nostalgic
for the shape of what was,
anhingas sundried, wingspread,
swimmers, parasols, formal fans
of elegant ladies, shimmering heat
rolling down to waters edge and beyond.

We are so much of the birds,
walkers, swimmers, fliers,
osprey crying out, conversational
owls, a litany tangled in oak and pine.

Feathered sky, eaten up
with brightness, cerulean wash,
current of upper elements, principality
of turkey buzzards, distant and silent,
we maintain a vigilant eye,
weather of tongue and ear.

Mouth birds roosting, oaks
and fern of expectations,
limb heavy morning song
of mothering leaf.
O hand, holding edge,
thumb on the bevel
of opening, what remains
hidden despite every peeling
will not allow itself to be uttered.

Sea is not anguish or the tide
that has scoured my bones,
a framework animated by flame, a different
element than what has reduced us,
nameless sand on a shore,
coral be my teeth
that I may chew on waves
washing through my ribs.

The shape of what was
is not the shape of now,
flesh inhabits form, a residency
irrelevant to sea, waves slosh in every word
we are as pine, at edge of mangrove,
tide at our roots, unable to flee
anxious for lightning, passage markers
of the bone breaking waters,
a great pyre of knowing
filling our limbs, a sleepless tongue
ever at the ear, as fluid as the snakebird
swimming in shallows, spearing
the scattering shards of moonlight.

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Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Former cook infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast. Can be found on Twitter@Peach Delphine

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