We took                       a house,

           a beach spread


The seals gathered            on rocks, made sounds

like sick       I mean like saint      like joy
           Their skin slick with salt,
                 rot and             body.

           Here is the story:
                       the females shed
their skin
           to become human.

When the man takes             her skin,
she is                                 subject
                       becomes his ---
but when the skin       returns,
she returns                   to the sea, to her

           That was what the neighbor told us

when his wife       was gone. That she took her coat
           and left.       We imagined her

pulling the arms on, buttoning into herself,
           the wool making her into a new self,
a going-home self, a woman who went back      
                       to her mother.

A man left me            it was a while ago        and there
      was a new       gape             where nothing had been before.

Listen -             I am not calling myself
      In the water      I watched       for him -
                              did the sad thing,
my body cold in the salt-float      felt the seaweed tendril
      brush my ankle       how sweet      to touch it       how it touches me

A plate in the sink. A hook on the wall.

      When I put on my coat - all

stillness. The ocean doesn't             call.