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Listen. You will hear my strain’s
            echo ripple across the bay’s sandy breast,
across the plains of sea grass.

            A faint breeze will cause the maroon
kestrel of your breath to crest
            the sea face. Tonight the moon

is new and my spout, a lone mast:
            a salt plume, a meteor that wings
and burns into dusk. Night’s ink

            drips slow, below the surface to blur
the what’s mine into you and fills
            us with wine. Come. Drink me

too. Sew my contours of phrase
            into a hymn to Manu, a hymn to Maui,
into a constellation’s fire-streak.

            We are stars bound into one psalm.



You are one thousand cold sea-
            moutnain shadows. Fish shoals
flash silver, scour rock and coral

            for relics. What holy trace do you
slough off, one escort one placenta,
            one theme that reaches then fades?

Alone in the deep, your absent body
            echoes,  a memory of sound I plunge
into as a shaft of sun and cry out;

            open my thorat to demersal dark.



When no one’s around I play gin
            with ghosts. Tell me, of one kind?
As if our hand is straight, how can

            I Rummy! you when all it takes
is a draw to keep a marooned heart from
            attack. Across the fringe reef I scrape

my knees and they don’t heal for weeks.
            You are the salt scent of my blood. When
in the surf you submerge your ears

            what wail do you hear? I torture myself
into alpha state, dreaming of your face
            painted in bar light. Someone hands you

a Scotch and fingers your tie. You’re a flush
            and then discard. I turn up the silence.
I admit it’s the full stop period, the iris

            at the phrase’s end that terrifies—


Whale Song

The seafloor’s silt fogs my eye’s anemome.
            It’s clear I can’t see you. A bird sticks my throat,
its feathers, surgeon’s fingers reach down, trick-

            clowning inside when your elbow grazes
my pectoral fin. Do you find a Mars
            heart aflame inside my night sky’s haze,

a thing drowned in desire? You once
            held your palms to mine, and rode my wave’s
wake. And now I send this song’s ache:

            an envoi, clumsy and clamoring for your ear—
its trace birthed fading: a dawn’s dusky fate.
            O time, your path across my face fills me

with longing, even now as my sea bed
            is a fossil: the empty stone where his
body once lay, and here, alone, I am

            again, crying out in loss’ slate tones.  


Rajiv Mohabir’s first full-length collection of poems, The Taxidermist’s Cut, winner of the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. A VONA, Kundiman, and American Institute of Indian Studies language fellow, some of his poetry and translations appear in journals such as Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Drunken Boat, Anti-, Great River Review, PANK, and Aufgabe. Having completed his MFA in poetry and translation from Queens College, CUNY, he is currently pursuing a PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i, at Manoa.