Letters light up like bioluminescence Against a darkening afternoon sky; It is November, I am walking the wet world, With these tendrils of dangling words Drawing saline pools round my squinting autumn eyes. We are questioning whether a thing has inherent value in and of itself, even if it is never beheld; The millions of voiceless, unseen creatures of the world. Yes, I some times find myself returning, Going back to line-caught words, Invisibly. Like a sea creature Of the impenetrable ocean, swimming scared, Retreating into the reef, Like the Glass Octopus who, Through dazzling displays of light, Disappears against the bed of the depths, (I do not know where she hides her legs, her face, her hooks), And it is a subterranean heart that carries me, Returning to a predatory word That might blacken the entrance to my cave, You at a distance, me with this heart of glass, Hanging on the wire, With ears trained to probe for The sucking stirring of the waters: Humiliation. I feel myself saying it through water, (Water over my head like a nun's habit), The words bubbling through spittle and salt, Gulping like a tiny fish just born; Surely the whole of birth is one big Humiliation! I want to lose myself in the stinging nuance of this word, To weave it around me, Like the Cuttle Fish who, under duress Dons an anti-reflective coat of ten million colour cells, And as such becomes a chunk of coral, Clump of algae, patch of sand. Silence... I am in the temple now, sitting in circle, And a woman comes to the centre. She speaks with such clarity that I cry, My whole disappearing skin starts to weep. She says: I have wanted to become invisible, But in the end, this is not safe, is not safe. Hiding is not safe. She bows under her shawl. And I think, inside that word Is hidden a limb of some missing sense: The growth of humility. Humility. I fall, my body bowing surrendered, breathing, And as though suddenly blessed with gills,
I am drawn gasping from the deep cavern, Bursting the surface of the water, Shouting for life itself, for expression, for speech. Striding onto the humble earth, With a shining skin.