Walking the sea, I think of the small diaspora
of the hermit crab, and the unshackled shell.
I think of the sealed spiral, niche and cupola
the nautilus crafts as if the ether windowed spirit level.
I think of the mollusk that lets the coffined pearl,
blind eye white as albumen”grow.

Walking the sea, I think of the skull, and the curl
of organs in the Canopic jar: glassy vertigo,
staring in, stares back, the afterlife or another death.
Walking the sea I see in the ropey egg cases
the umbilical cord’s birthed death; my little faulty breath
that displaces my mother’s linked neaklaces

of veins and blood. Vowels I cannot swallow,
I hear again in my first word, mama” all the diasporas to follow

Articles by Valerie Wohlfeld