By the white tile of tub, water becomes the smell of ceanothus morning. Cow bellow mist slinks the soft hand of hill. Wood collects moisture, swells against steam. Drag your finger across glass. Below, a trellis of jasmine. A library, an owl beneath bell jar. A brick oven, built in burst of cala lily. A bee-hived hill into town. Pennywort, tule, sedge, rush. Pinch strands of rattle snake grass to disperse our fields cut by quakes. You are bird, pollinating. Blistered palms of nettle, finding home beneath twisted bough of cypress. Fallow deer of lore, a skunk digs delicate.
The marsh whispers deep. Bring the hot water bath, the soap made of sheep’s milk. Lay your feet along our muddy bank, your knees patched with sand. The otter will wait to pull down a heron, hear the croak against long body splash. Leave behind hair, tousled with rose blossom. Take off your skin, scabbed with words you cannot write. Unhinge your rib cage, exposing each lung to the westerlies. Turn three times, till all the handprints fall from your legs. Here, your breath is tidal hush. You are a view coming in, willowed and wet. Creature of crawdad and mosquitofish.
KELLY GRAY (she/her) resides on Coast Miwok land amongst the tallest and quietest trees in the world, deep in fire country. Kelly has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Atticus Review and Best of the Net by The Account Magazine, and her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Passages North, Pithead Chapel, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Normal School, River Teeth, Lunch Ticket, The Inflectionist Review, and more. Her debut book of poetry, ‘Instructions for an Animal Body,’ is forthcoming from Moon Tide Press. You can read her work at writekgray.com.