Laura Christina Dunn graduated in 2009 from the MFA program at the University of Montana. Her poems have appeared in journals such as At Length, Fugue, The Bear Deluxe, Zocalo Public Square and Alligator Juniper, among others. A musician and a playwright. she has released three full length ablums with the Ghosts of Xmas Past and has composed music for ArtParty Theater Company and RadyBloom in New York. Her first full length play The Snow Queen: A Folk Opera appeared in this year’s Fertile Ground Festival in Portland. She was the recipient of the 2015 Oregon Literary Fellowship in poetry and The Bard Deluxe Award from ORLO.
Beyond the white wave, my brother’s soapy body
is tangled in shallows and seeps a gray shadow
over stirring water and the submerging light
of the sky. He is watching
the sea crows fill their mouths with dimes
and scattering ash. He is not watching
the way he leaks twilight from pores, that as he
washes, the world dims like an aging eye.
If the ocean were glass what would link
shore and ship as they cut horizons? Motion
connects two bodies standing far apart. A wave unrolls
like wet sheets thrown back from a bed.
Reneé, I wanted to be as old as the water,
so I could disassemble a cliff grain by grain.
But we scrub our skin as if a quarrel with the body
illuminates our quarrel with others.
The gray of fingertips and a piece of sand
when held alone on the thumb is the gray
of the crow’s shadow washed ashore
from his dying hair. We are part
of his call, as if from the throats of birds—
addressed to no one, but a way to point to the world
as it dims. For a moment, I could still see
what made me so angry. Water breaks apart the shore
with a heavier slap this time. For a moment,
the mind turns from death
to the memory of ships.