Suspension Feeding

When she disappears
into the atmosphere, will you 

remember the shape her mouth was in
when she last said 

your name, when she stepped back
from that kiss? A poet skirts 

in and around surfaces
seeking a place to attach herself to. 

It’s a barnacle
life—she’s always preferred the underside
of piers.

Water Dancer

for Sheri

She knows every inch of the dock,
every splinter, barnacle,
hurricane seam. 

It is not a plank.
It is just where she walks.
And she knows how to dive,
has been doing it for years. 

No easing shore side
into the wash for her,
she plunges in and is “used to it”
before others wake. 

This is underworld—closets,
caves, roads, the drag
of undertow. This is where she should
live, she who in her heart is a sponge
is a sponge is a sponge. 

It is laying out to dry,
the exposure to air,
the rising sun. It is her death
to be before all of you. In performance,
she will never work a room,
works the ocean floor
for all it’s worth. 

Leave her uncontained.  She would rather
paint kisses—watercolor running—
than be confounded by a mirage of roses
she cannot reach, without a body
unprotected by skin.

Barnacle Love

A barnacle clings
to its host, a kiss-up,
annoying to distraction. 

A barnacle hugging
its rocks, the foundation
beds its shore.