for Courtney Sina Meredith


She cups my name in her hands
like an undersized fish, unhooks 


his lip, slips him back into shoals
beneath our feet that’ll eddy him off


to someplace beyond reach. She invites
me to close my eyes in this too-bright


room where there is no running 
water or waxing moon. I hear it weir


across rocks, vortex in my ears: her voice 
is a raised hand out of the rip, as if to signal


drowning yet guides me until we’re neck-deep
She asks who I think about when I picture


the ocean. I trace his voice, watch his face float 
to the surface. She curls a phrase, Ka kite ano 


on the sandbank, presses a mask to my mouth
We wade out to the wreck, peer through


cracked glass, shine a light into the belly
of his demise. She brushes my hand over 


a new fish, mouths something I can’t catch
Stroke its gills as I feel the tail thrill against  


my wrist. When I open my eyes, she holds 
the hook. There is blood on the line.



*note: Ka kite ano is a Maori phrase for “until I see you again”*