Bea Garth   © 2015 All Rights Reserved


My sister warns to choose either
            addiction to rum or to heartbreak
before I invite you up

            to sunny-side your eggs. But tonight
I lick my baleen clean. You turn my heart
            down like sheets soiled with your brine.

Youíve already crawled through and swim
            my arteries. Iím not sorry
for the blood stormís sorrow or how

            rain clouds seep into my thorax
and inundate me with phantom vows
            you swear youíll never. My temple bones

are not a holy site worthy
            of tirath or hajj, but a ballad
that endures a nautical hour,

            where I break first then drink your trace.


Return Migration

You canít herring-net me. Iím red
            and youíre gone. Timeís fish-eye
tricks me to think youíre bigger

            when I am underneath blowing you
bubble-rings that tickle your belly.
            Keep laughing. How can you dream

of any algae bloom or fuller sea?
            I fish-scale sparkle and scrape
your baleen and taste your song.

            To migrate. I flounder, a jester;
you torpedo, an outrigger. When you
            return why call or canoe out?

Ask the Pacific reef about nutrients.
            Beyond volcanic slopes the heartís
desert betrays silence. Itís time.


Gulf Brydeís Whale

Named for the whaler who peeled
your flesh into Bible-sized
books, youíre a sea orange
whose rind spirals and unravels
into a strip of gore. You fill
your lungs before folding
pleura and bronchi into a deep,
plunging song. Do you mean
to draw in pills of beaded crude
and misshapen crabs with no eyes
or apocalyptic claws: an orchestra
of woodwinds and brass bells
brimming with blood? You croon
the songs of the dead. The Gulf
is a web of sub marine calls:
metal bodies and seismic airgun
surveys that scour the seafloor
for oil, a series of blasts that damn
your throat to the abyss though
Corexit lesions on your skin gape,
mouthing a black Holy Holy Holy
as your own oil spills from your ears
and ass. The hymnís notes break
off the staff as whole note
skimmers and soon fade into sky.

Rajiv Mohabir
Copyright © 2015


Rajiv Mohabir, author of The Taxidermistís Cut, (Four Way Books Intro Prize forthcoming March 2016) and The Cowherdís Son (Kundiman Prize, Tupelo Press, forthcoming 2018), is a VONA and Kundiman fellow. You can read about his work here:

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