Sealskinned, Crowned

by Hester J. Rook · from issue 2

I pour myself in
full and thick
like the syrup left from poaching pears
rich with cinnamon
star anise in my hair.

My skin feels odd now
misshapen from disuse
stretched and constricted
all at the same time:
a snakeskin left too long in the grass.

Still: it is time
I weave garlands of feathers
a spray of galah pink
the red-blue of a rosella.
I crown my skin with
a single tail-feather
dusk brown  kingfisher.

I have made a home here
up in the Dry
among the sway of the leaves
and rain of falling gum blossoms.

I stitch up my skin
with roughened shell shard splinters
down my sternum
until I am myself again
(my old self
but crowned with birds).

I slip into the sea
with a wave roar
and am flooded, familiar.
And until the next time
when the skies call
bright and hard
and I long for the whispers between
the trees,
I will leave feathers on the ocean
and star anise on the sand.