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”

  1. 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.


    1. 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.


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