In a white dress, vase for one barbed
she floats moon-fingered, drifting,
a medusa in transparent skirts
or a narwhal beneath the split sea surface,
impaled on her own horn.
In a petticoat of an unstudied red,
frilled, gill-pleated—the flounced mantle
of the sea-slug ‘Spanish Dancer’;
or the silk within torn silk of rosebuds,
or the blood behind her eyelids.
In a black gown sharp as a blade,
long as an afternoon spent sleeping—
waking to shadows and low tide;
a crack through which slip all entreaties,
a rain of basalt fragments.
She moves with tones and undercurrents,
fault-lines, and the shifting cave light;
intermediary, instrument, instar,
brittle and yielding as a periwinkle,
cupping the rumour of oceans.
Water fills her ears. Faster than through
sound weaves past, shudders, scatters,
like something incompletely fashioned,
or some too-late reminder.
She longs for the ribbon of music
to wrap around her waist,
to tangle in her hair.