“Whale Foam, Sea Honey” and “red-pickup men pass me & my bike on montlake”

Whale Foam, Sea Honey

Clouds bruise the night,
defile every map the stars
scribble on its open palm.

I lose direction, hardly
see the maw of indecision
before it wraps me in teeth 

& tongue, traps me 
in another skin. I breathe
air sour as surrender

in this cavern of bone 
unflensed. If only the moon
flowers bloomed in this

darkness to light 
the way to change—
Cobble a raft of squid beaks 

& seaweed & slip
into ocean where salt cleanses, 
sun hardens, wind blows 

sweet instead of foul.
Shed the corset of control,
breathe sea-gold upon the shore.

red-pickup men pass me & my bike on montlake

their dog-tongues unfurl & then bark thunder thighs & then 
the sound of vinegar & then I stop my body & then I eat 
their words & then my belly hurts & then I face my pretty face 
& then I sing strange hips to prove my worth & then I blue- 
pill my fat & then I breathe too much & then I grow arms inside 
my arms legs inside my legs & then I claim my space & then 

a man christens my limbs thighs of the world & then we 
pack and travel & then we glory each other & then he forgets 
parts despise whole & then I skin ice to stay warm & then I curdle 
his blessing & then I sing my hips to claim my worth & then I write 
a new ocean & then I braid breath into wind & then I garden wide 
and always & then I refuse to disappear

Lynne Jensen Lampe was born in Newfoundland and raised in Wisconsin and Louisiana. Her collection Talk Smack to a Hurricane will be out September 2022 (Ice Floe Press). Her poems—which often deal with conformity, sanity, gender, and faith—appear in many journals, including Figure 1YemasseeThe American Journal of PoetryOne, and Rock & Sling, as well as SMEOP: Urban, a UK anthology. A finalist for the 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize, she lives with her husband and two dogs in Columbia, Missouri. When she’s not throwing squeaky toys, she makes time to edit academic books and journals. Find her online at http://lynnejensenlampe.com