Between the diagnosis and the death

lies permission, possibility of being:

a moment in which I disclose

myself, finally, as you might,

held between the world before it wakes


and the one now beginning. Which is to say I love you

as one loves obscure things, needing to live

caught in another’s exclamation, withholding nothing;

not the numb disbelief of the body

before the dawn, nor the shadow

extending itself across the earth

and a soul, hopelessly small

within the emboldened reach

of mourning.


Love lies dimly in me. (It does not register, does not know

restraint.) I come to it without meaning to, and leave

before having decided

how far, and when, and where

to go. I don’t know any other way

but the way in which you taught me,


learning to break

upon the slow erasures

of sand, willed to rise and to create. I think of it

as something majestic: this ever-forming, convalescent

expression of the tide, feverous

with repetition.



between possibility and permission

I hold my breath

so many moments wasted

within myself

trying to hold onto you

between the end of this world

and the beginning of a new normal

that I’m not ready for,

which is to say I want to love you

As one loves shimmering light

Caught in this heat wave

Upon the waters off the coast

we once called home

Before our last dawn

Before our shadows separated

The space between, the shape

of us all we have left. For the island

Is leaving me, slowly, restrained.

I arrived to be with you,

And I know I must depart

Without itinerary or destination.

I don’t know how to move

Without your currents. I break

Upon your suddenly eroding shore,

Struggling to swim

in the ever-surging tides,

The absence of breath,

The fevered drowning of it.




The slow departure: waterborne, nearly unconscious, allowing

for the sudden arrival of light, granting shape

to the outlines of things, we struggle to swim

while twilight demarcates a world


about to begin. No punctuation or clarity, the analemma 

of the sea-bend shearing away, interventions 

of tussock marking distance, we part

the water, easing ourselves forward,


unsure now whether we are swimming or being borne

by the current’s invitation: the way it decides 

without having to, delineating, not intending to take 

any particular shape. Seamed with salt spray,


bobbing inquiries of seaweed

curl, adrift and questioning: an invitation to consider

how far beyond the shoreline we will go, how far

toward the waves, the interventions of this need,


the uncertain imperative

to make sense of things.




The low tide departs: coral borne, almost conscious, swallowing

The hidden touch of light, granting shelter

To fragile beings, and to us, as we gasp for breath

From the submarine dusk of a world about to end,


No exclamation or caesura but the latitude

Of our hemisphere fading away, intersections of seaweed

Obscuring the distance from where we began

To salt the water, weeping for the past


Uncertain whether we should stand

By the trade wind’s invitation, the way it lifts without meaning to,

The way it embraces without intending to hold

Any particular thing at all. Scented with native flowers, open parenthesis of plumeria


We crawl like tildes—a new accent to pronounce

How deep into the land we will go,

How deep into the roots, the insurrections of our blood,

An unending interrogative,

To learn where we belong.