On the way home the porpoise warmed
in its black garbage bag on the seat.
It was a rare find and she pet my head.
As any mother should, she loved skin—
not to lather, no baby powder, and later,
no salves for my stretches. Wherever
I walk, with her, corpses appear—
flattened squirrels turned white as pine
toads jellied in their youths. Under the gold
garland of our fisher cat’s belly I wait for her
to skin me, too. Most beautiful thing—
She’d fold me more closely to hold.
Only this way: her eyes, blue, float on
words like water, searching for something
else to slip into. For years she marveled—
my eagle eye girl. From the rocks the
smell of sea womb and its wet hairs.
I tipped heavily to peer at the dead light.

Tola Sylvan grew up in Concord, Massachusetts. She enjoys botanical gardens and dancing Brazilian zouk into the early hours. She currently lives in Harlem.