The orca’s tongue is tattooed in crowblack ink
with the whole history of the Hoh
and the names of Nisqually who hunted there
in the sacred space between hawk and bear –
hung to cure in a frozen smoke.
In the blackfish grin, written on salmon skin,
lives the library of the Lummi
and the forgotten words to S’Klallam songs
sung in the fog from which they’re drawn –
then gone like a dream’s unblooming.
But the orca speaks, too, the newer words
of submarine and ferry boat
and the sharp dialect of high skylines
that replace the flesh with the crystalline –
concrete terms being asked to float.
A blackfin ripple loops cursive in the bay
as the orca pens the Pacific tome
and writes Sound verses beneath the surface
in a Salish hand whose arc is perfect –
the scrimshaw line of tooth and bone.
8 thoughts on “Librarian”
This in fantastic Andy!
Thanks, Bob. It’s my 3rd or 4th on the Pacific Northwest theme – I think I’ll keep ’em coming and make a series of it.
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Awesome. I look forward to reading them.
Heads up: I sent you an email – might land in your spam folder.
I got it. I replied.
VEry, very, very good. Most excellent in fact.
Two small quibbles:
“But the orca speaks, too, the newer words”
Consider dropping “too” to keep the beat.
“A blackfin ripple loops like cursive in the bay”
Consider eliminating “like” for the same reason.
That’s Sound advice. I’ll definitely follow the latter. It does come off much better that way. As for the “too” and the beat, I’m not sure. I was specifically trying to avoid falling into a bouncing rhythm, and to make it more story-telling than song-singing. I’ll chew on it for a while, though.
Just mere suggestions. Either way it’s among your best.