Black must always fade with morning. Islets shoulder white coats
ice heaves into position with the day’s tide and a cleft,
where two hills meet, unfurls a path trodden by a single set of bootprints.
A passer in the dark who tells what the wind knows.
She, with veins stitched into velvet peat, spends her day
peeling shark oil paint off boathouse boards
so they can return to the sodden mass of this land—
grit red gathered in the crease of her palm
gives her voice weight, gives her voice the rough edges
wind can hold as it pulls her landscape sketches
off a pink tongue. This island is not her place
so with tissue thin light in the minutes before sunrise
she carefully weaves another muscle fibre
into last season’s grass and tries not to feel her tender fingertips.
In spring her skin will grow green
from chlorophyll in her bloodstream. This island is not her place
so she will breath with it until her human
surrenders to ancient bog, cold water trickling down ear canals
rinsing her skull like limestone slowly slowly worn smooth
where sea meets land and swaps rock memory for water.
Then she is only body.
Not of this place but consumed by it—the only way,
she knows, to see an islands underside
where threads are tied off, left untrimmed
and vulnerable to rust and bleaching, or wear.
Now she will be held in place by the tapestry of a year’s labour,
leaving just her pink tongue free to paint
while above, black returns to these skerries.