Coming of Age
She shakes a red-brown hip jangling with clamshells,
her shimmering thighs bright with the out-flowing tide
and calls to me in a loon’s voice.
“Don’t be afraid of the mud, honey.
It’s so good for your complexion!”
She is lip-smack salty and trade wind persuasive.
The furrows of her hair are slick with chlorophyll
that stains the string of corals at her throat.
“Just leave your clothes there. Great Mother!
Haven’t I seen you naked before?”
Not like this, bared to the bluefin sky,
flesh cold as a crested wave waiting to fall
into the rip current, tongue like a sand dollar.
“I’m…I’m not going to drown, am I?
You said I can breathe under water now.”
Pearly teeth flash behind a grin wide as a dolphin’s.
Fingers like rockweed tendrils reach out to tug me in.
Her laughter is a fall of rain on a brine pool.
“Trust your body, little minnow.
It knows what it’s doing.”
Stumbling into the sea foam, the transformation takes me;
skin to glistening scales, neck to slitted gills,
and we dive, a pair of salmon swimming home, always home.