"Self-Portrait in the Body of a Whale," Frances Justine Post
We come upon the body of a whale, a fresh beaching.
It smells like a thousand fishes.
I crawl in on the carpet of its tongue, seeking the injury out.
Outside, you cough and look away as I squint
through the eye at you. I dig into the room
its ribs make and squat in the warm gloom. The heart,
a chandelier, hangs down, ringed with veins. Here and there
the skin, thinned by hermit crabs, lets in the light
like a stained glass window with blood red panes.
I lie down on the bed of its liver as the tide fills the body,
each wave, higher. You give the whale a kick
I almost didn’t feel and gesture towards the dunes,
backing away, disappearing. Is this who you really are?
This is where I live now like a barnacle,
stern and grumpy. If you try to move me, I will cut you.