“Selkie: a mythical creature that resembles a seal in the water but assumes human form on land.”
— Definition from Oxford Languages
Cavernous, the sullen cliffs part their lips to reveal the sea
Writhing like a tongue, rolling and thrilling
The shore with trails of green.
There are women, hungry and dispersed
Along the sand’s raised brow like debris from a wreck.
Swallowed by sealskin,
Grey and mournful and open-mouthed,
The wet caves echo their song,
Downturned in moaning.
My palms graze the rocks,
Bone-dry and trembling as I descend,
Body menacing and stupid.
I touch their skin—
Slick and cold and metallic, throbbing with life
Beneath murky flesh. A raw smell hovers over us
And lingers like a bruise,
Bloody and salivating; the dirty musk
Of a beaten dog.
They lay their wandering light upon me
And dull lashes clump together like
The snapping of a clam.
Listen to the laughter of sea-girls;
My salt-stung captors. Watch them haul me
Towards the waves like a sack of meat.
Featured Image Source: Daniella’s own Image