Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Winter is a scent-mark
left by ghosts on every sidewalk

to attract mates. The sweater
I unpack from the closet

is dry with the stuff, over-
clean. It says, "you have

still not been on the wrong
side of a gun this year, have

you?" and points to the babyfat
flags in my cheeks, citizenship

papers to the island nation
of privilege and self-doubt.

On TV, David Attenborough
watches the huge pink shapes

of walruses molting in the arctic
like giant snorting babies,

scraping off skin against rocks
in a slate-colored bay.

It was summer when
they did that. Now

they are on pack ice, drifting.
In weeks the ghosts will come

and it will be impossible to move
without moving through them.

They will speak in return for blood:
nonsense syllables, bits about

the difference between air and wind.
By March I'll know that dialect

say, "excuse me," take shallow breaths.

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