Another Kind of Compass (Drift, Whisper)
Christine Pacyk and Virginia Smith Rice
You’re wrong – the weather bleeds.
Yesterday, coral sores all over the ocean.
Still, I did what all fishermen do
when they need to sleep –
I reeled in my line, its empty hook.
At ten I gutted my first fish, a small pink
salmon with an eye like a silver mirror
that has forgotten its reflection,
a glass marble, blank
paper twist at the center.
I slipped the knife into its opaline belly
and spilled the roe into the swell
between waves. Three bay leaves
steeped with the simmering
carcass, flesh separating from
And always another run on the way,
delayed, the sea rising – still, the waves
move forward, red blooms rinsing
our bodies, birth-slick, in salt:
from water you came,
to water you return.
Somewhere, we believe in healed, born
and reborn under a lucky sign, proving again
to ourselves we must be more than ordinary.
I place the kettle back on its shelf,
twist two metal rings on my fingers,
watch lightning slit open each direction.