Scientists say that the genes of 500 million-year-old sea creatures can be found in my cells, creatures that must’ve descended from smaller, more monstrous forms: the carnivorous amoeba, eighteen-armed cilia, and other protozoans. These genes may have had the answers to why I can touch and see, why one side of my body can fold itself beautifully onto the other, even in my sleep. Which means, Mother, I am more than a thousand years old, and there is a piece of the ocean living inside of me, just as you do, in the narrow whalebones lining my lung.


I was always hungry, she would tell me later. From the very beginning.


I helped you
up and gnawed
what was left to the core.


I wish we'd met while it lived; that it had taught me moth-tongue.