Press palm to sea, work the ocean,
flatten it into a mirror
reflecting the Old Woman’s light back to you.
She is Ocean,
who wants what she wants—You’ve known this
your whole life. She wants your body,
your cousins’ body, your uncle’s body,
anyone’s body. All these drownings
in your family history too numerous to speak of.
She considers them gifts.
See her as she really is—Ocean simply wants
her broken coral ribs mended, her sea hair
combed and braided, a care-taking as old
as stories carved on cave walls,
and etched in stone on a nearby beach.
After all, don’t you recall her retroflection—
a current turning back on itself,
how her hand reached up to yours,
in Brown Bear Bay, how you leaned over
the boat’s gunwales—there you are/were
with your fingertips swirling through
flashing green diatoms, resisting
the urge to jump in, swim in her liquid light,
while above you, a meteor
left a silver trail across August’s black sky.
Vivian Faith Prescott was born and raised in Tlingit Aaní in Wrangell, Ḵaachx̱ana.áakʼw, a small island in Southeast Alaska, where she lives and writes at her family’s fishcamp. She works as a climate witness, documenting climate change in Alaska through poetry, stories, and art. She’s the author of several poetry collections, a book of linked stories, and a foodoir about life at her fishcamp.
Header photo by Merrillie Redden, courtesy Shutterstock.