The Salt Gods

So many of the poems in my new book, Gods of Water and Air, are connected to the sea, beside which I spent my childhood, that I had to reflect the twin elements of wind and water in the title, as essential to my consciousness. This poem from the book was started on Kauai, where I felt the ocean's presence on my body constantly, and daily bowed to its salt gods. 

The Salt Gods

On a necklace of rocks,
sand-colored, she lies in the sun,
not seeing the photographer
who doesn’t aim at her
but at the rocks
that float in the sea.

He snaps and goes.
She slips into the water
to ride sloppy currents
among sea turtles, crawling
beside their slow ballet,
measuring herself against salt gods
in mottled shells.

Afterward, she sits
on the rocks. The breeze
rumples around her. Richly
draped in the sea’s perfume,
she wraps the wind around her hips.

This is what happens
when you dive with gods:
The picture shows no one
but clicking palms frilled
with yellow parrots.