She squishes through fish, salmon stacked up to the door,
boots tracking scales in the wheelhouse, on the galley floor,
down the companionway, and in the engine room.
By the end of the day, there are scales on the mast. Scales
on the deck winch, on the ladder and steps. Scales in her hair,
in her gloves, up her sleeves, behind her ears. Scales
like freckles. Scales like glitter. Like bindis, like dragon skin.
Scales in her eyes like contact lenses. Scales flaking
and scales sticking like glue. Scales flashing like diamond bling,
like glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, like fairy dust,
like silver dimes, like new shoes on the first day of school,
like piñata candy spilled into rust-colored mud. Scales
that taste like caviar, like salt, like sperm, the musty crush
of ocean and the stink of lust. These confetti-cake scales,
these sprinkles and bejewelers, these flat raindrops, these
dollar signs, these smashing dashing scales like a pint-size
helping of spice, you lucky bastard, you don’t even know,
but for each of these she scrubs and scrapes and cleans away,
she dreams your fingers drumming softly on her skin. In the shower,
she dreams your fingers into streams on her back, into stars
that see, into mist, into smoke, into fire that breathes.
Your fingers are whole notes on the bass clef or willows
sweeping windows in a warm breeze or cigarettes or
a fast bet you win in a hailstorm of desire. Fingers
that smell like diesel, like danger, like a damp, darling copy
of her body. Fingers that chart her scars like ocean trenches,
that flit like a seabird skims sky. Fingers that tap like a typist
but spell crave like a racecar takes curves. Fingers like buttons
on a birthday suit, like the wrong wrench, like the right wrench
and the screwdriver that turns everything loose. Fingers
like marching, like ants, like the crumbs they hunt,
and the sugar they love, like butter, like cream, like I scream
into a cornfield from a car full of flesh. She dreams
his fingers on fleece, on flannel, on denim, on copper,
on cotton, on nipples, on knees. How can I compare? I love her
the way a King’s black mouth gapes for air, the way
any salmon will taste the whole ocean and still turn for home.