Salmon scales, damselflies,
the tailfeathers of a hummingbird –
brittle barnacles, a mink’s teeth,
soft river silt –
some of the blood is mine.
Moss, scrub cedar, a deer’s jaw
bleached by pale sunlight –
Creekfoam, dark soil,
some of the blood is mine, love.
Starlight, starfish, starflower,
some of it is mine.
And I will move in centuries
over your body, in millennia, carving you
with my two bare hands like glaciers,
marking you slowly with my teeth
and my fingernails to build fishtraps
and rock art and sweet middens
across the landscape of your body.
And I will build villages in the crook
of your arm, and teach salmon to swim
in your veins of bright water,
and I will live and die in the deep inlets
of your soft body
with your hair like kelp,
with your hair like spruce roots,
wrapped around us both as we sigh
into the rain and the slow bleed.
Some of the blood is mine, love,
none of it is yours, some is the sky’s
and it will paint the brief story of our love
into the stone from which stories and blood
will someday be washed away,
washed into the sea like the bones of people
and the bones of birds.
Night slept on, and the shadow ocean
was like the taut, stretched breast
of a skinned jay,
like the inner surface of a mussel shell
when the meat is stripped away.
You sank your teeth in, love, my love,
and some of the blood was mine
and some was the ocean’s
and none of it was yours.
Some of the blood was mine, love,
and none of it was yours, and some of it belonged
to the little wrens with their fragile beaks
and their precious claws that harmed nothing
in this frail world.
© Jess Housty