Natasha King is a Vietnamese American writer and nature enthusiast currently living in North Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in Constellate Magazine, Oyster River Pages, Okay Donkey, Ghost City Review, and others. She spends her spare time writing, prowling, and thinking about the ocean. She can be found on Twitter as @pelagic_natasha.

i shall be the thrush that strikes the snail

i shall be the thrush that

strikes the snail to split its sweetness,

i shall be the fisher that

upends the porcupine and bites the belly.

i shall wake in twilight, wake in soft light,

live when colors melt and truth is

crepuscular and malleable.

i shall sleep through the times of

absolutes. seep through the cracks of

absolutes. keep my hard edges for

the heart. let my figure blur as if

seen through tears.

i shall be the desert bat still

devouring the scorpion despite venom,

i shall be the blue sea slug that

swallows the man o’ war’s sting for later use

i shall be one speck in vast waves, one

quiet heart in hum of sand or saltwater.

i shall be glimpsed rarely, an emerald flash at dawn and

dusk, smeared on the horizon line until i

fade from memory. fade from the retina. keep my

thoughts and poisons to myself. let the

soft voices pass through me like light, let my

body forget what it was to hold and be held.

i shall lick my name

from the earth like salt,

i shall drink solace

from the tips of my human fingers.

i shall build my home where the vast world loves

the void, where half-light is a

pale and muddied grace.

i shall mark the gap where air meets marrow,

oh, and arrow fleetly, enter my fill and

curl so neatly, in the dark. hold

life in my jaws, my beak,

my stinging cerata. let life swallow me like the

desert, like the sea, like the sunset sinking.

photo: Alison Scarpulla