They Will Sew the Blue Sail

Velella | Jennifer S. Cheng

The whales are all coming loose. They are hitting the surface like ice floes, the swell of their flesh like parachutes. Looming into the salted air. The hearth of their skin is covered in secrets: inch-long scrape along the vertebrae, pinch-sized wound in the underbelly. The sea, full of promises it cannot keep, so I gather invisible strings like balloons one wishes to keep from the sky. The sea, at night, is another sky, and slow-moving bodies billow their way through heavy currents that are lifting and sinking slow bits of kelp, tiny fish dust, crushed shell. I gather the sea like it will not betray me, I hold my body like it is large and weathered. I come up for air, and my belly is filled with gaps, distances, fissures, intervals. There are scrapes in the flesh one cannot see, wounds in the folds one cannot feel.