Riding a manta ray
through mangroves, small
hands small feet like
a squirrel suddenly grounded

is ready/ I have

curls from my grandmother
that cannot be kept when I am
hot and salty between waves-

a girl I remember from before
taken by a fish of peculiar shape
(I lived by the sea then) and how

I fled and how I bent hand-over-hand
around every curve by habit, there*

(My father told me,
philosophy and religion
can be the same in men):

it is in my roots to see a hole and place
mouth over space and hold until
it is filled; a starving a needing

an ancestral grieving in my heart
where if there is a falling there is a

turn, and it starts in a dream
where I know (and you know), we
are all in our hearts our own heroes/

for those who cannot hold

this slippery beast, be made like jasmine
thumps upon the screen door mid-night
stating I am I am I am, and
*dream | hard.

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