I fell from sealmother’s
liquid womb onto fast-ice
and she suckled me with her thick
milk and kept me, fifty days.
We lived in the wind.
Under the ice in no-light
trills, buzzes, thumps
filled the water and rang in my body.
I scraped breathing holes with my teeth,
held my breath, slowed my blood,
sank deep, breathed out
bubbles to flush the icy fish;
devoured silverfish, squid, octopus,
giant toothfish, bald notothen.
A male bit my neck and gripped me.
A cub curled inside me. I bore
many cubs and let them suck. Left them
when the time came. My teeth
worn to nubs, skua will make
quick food of me when I starve
above the ice. Or if my carcass
drops to the sea floor, red
sea stars, worms, and flesh-eating
amphipods will slowly cover
me and devour my meat.
I’m standing in wind,
seal flesh still warm.



(From Blue Hanuman, copyright © 2014 by Joan Larkin. Published by Hanging Loose Press, 231 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217, All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any medium, print or electronic, without the publisher’s written permission, except for brief quotations in reviews.)