Cloudbound | Kami Westhoff

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Kami Westhoff is an award-winning poet and short story writer. She's the author of story collection The Criteria, and three poetry chapbooks including CloudboundSleepwalker, winner of Minerva Rising's Dare to Be Contest, and Your Body a Bullet, co-written with Elizabeth Vignali. Her prose has appeared in various journals including Booth, Carve, Hippocampus, Passages North, Meridian, Waxwing, and West Branch. She teaches creative writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.


A Woman is Shored

and of course she’s dying:
noose of seaweed, carve
of clamshell, barnacles pock
her body with their feathery
bullet mouths.

She’s centuries dead, or another
woman last seen alone, eyes like
onyx stabbed into sand, skin
the shade of slate.

Still, he’d like to kiss her lips,
slick her tongue with his own
and call its wet desire. If he holds
her just right, she’ll bend herself
backwards and blow his mind.

On the morning she’s found,
jellyfish scatter the shore, blob the sand
with the miscarriage bodies he will blame
her for.

A man consumes a woman like the night
blinds the day with its dark. A woman offers
herself to the day, prays for its swallow
before another dusk.