blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
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Mating Chain
     When three or more sea slugs mate in unison, the first animal in the chain acts exclusively
     as female, the last as male, and the others as male/female simultaneously.

Learning the difference takes so long. Of being demeaned or being
taught to navigate the seafloor. It’s a language of stoplights
and dark folds you never saw creasing. For example, left is actually
below your stomach and to the right is a reef of indigo. Patches of grey
and pink fondle me to sleep. I want to be one of the species
that pins down the other, circling two or more lovers. To push
my flimsy heart forward in the currents. Lithe as eelgrass,
drunk on endorphins. The best a body can do
is fold itself in half, flapping flail, repetition
of loneliness. But what’s the difference between this hunger
and parasitic tendency? I twist and steer each tentacle,
tying knots against the stillness. This one to symbolize love and the other,
savagery. I’m learning the subtlety, braiding between them.  end

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