Seal Woman (a poem)

When the waves crash over your head

and you brace yourself,

against that shock of darkness

seeping into eyes, nose, mouth, ears, skin,

so that you are gasping, blind, waterlogged,

dissolving,

fighting against that which envelops you,

afraid

that you cannot stand, breathe, swim,

or survive –

what if you, in that very moment,

know

that the dark water is in truth your element,

that you are actually a seal woman,

a selkie –

lured onto land by pride and promises,

and the beating of your all-too-human heart?

– know that you are truly, irrefutably,

a water creature,

a being who can live on land but briefly,

that you have overstayed your time here,

that in the harsh air you will eventually

dry out, wear out;

you will be parched, homesick;

you will be a mere shadow of your own soul’s self.

Then, by that alchemy of thought,

will you, instead of fighting,

dive deep down into the water that could be your grave

or your salvation?

Will you find yourself at home there –

lithe, graceful, saturated, satiated –

as you have never been on land?

Will you surrender to that unknown yet familiar

darkness?

Will you surrender then, and find yourself at home?

 

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