We’ve both seen seals bobbing on the ocean.
Any witchin’ that drowns sailors, cracks ships,
is good. Any tongue that makes, “làn-mara,” run
a gift. “There’s a harbor between your hips,”
Ma said. High tide runs fast there when your seal
wakes from dreaming. We’ve both heard selkies talk,
those gray women bound to men who steal
their skins. Our magic runs different: with cock
and cunt, with moon and tide, with your harbor
gushing. “Don’t tell Ma,” you said. “Don’t
stop.” I’ve drowned before. Your fat waves break
on my chin. The rim of your flooding shore.
The fog-lost lip of your cunt’s brim. I won’t
stop. Our witchin’ of the sea. Our sea’s ache.
Folklore from the Northern Isles of Scotland talk of the selkie, the seal folk, who are able to pass as human by shedding their seal skin. Unfortunately the selkie are also in the habit of forgetting to hide the one thing that gives mortals power over them so there are many fairy tales in which some complete failure embodying the worst aspects of manhood brings home a seal wife who spends all her time begging to be released and pining for the sea. In Scot-Gaelic, “làn-mara,” is the term for high tide.