Photo Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Renaissance Armor

The yellow-bellied sea snake

The yellow-bellied sea snake
must shed its skin to grow, but in
the logic of the sea it finds no rock or stick
or truth on which to rub,

and so it ties itself in knots, pulls itself
on through, and sheds its skin against
its skin, passing through transition
in a singular, Gordian display.

As, like the yellow-bellied sea snake,
you attempt to tie yourself in knots,
your breasts brush soft across me,
rolling like the sea.

Though grown, we each have growing left,
big as we may be, but rubbing one another
we stretch our length more freely, more decisively
than those who take this passage on their own.

At last our lost skins sink together, thinly gliding
ghostlike through depths of water bending, contorting
our departed shapes, while burnished, gleaming,
pink and healing, up we rise.

Michael McNeilley

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