Sedna at the Juneau Cold Storage Dock
There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea and she’s afraid
to go swimming. Not that the water is too cold. Not
that the halibut below the dock—the one
that swallowed a scuba diver tank and all—
is real, but she’s afraid not to believe
the myth, how salmon
heads and lungs, tails and ropy innards
fed the halibut until it grew
a mouth like an orca, a cavern
gaping on its flat, two-tone body,
the girl’s body
shivering in the open boat, she can’t
remove her float coat for a swim,
not even for her father.
There’s a hole in the harbor floor
where the water darkens, out
past the jetty. That’s where she would go
if she were real, if she were the fish-woman
whose fingers were chopped off by her father
to make her let go of the boat.
“Sedna at the Juneau Cold Storage Dock” originally appeared in Narrative Magazine.
Jenifer Browne Lawrence is the author of One Hundred Steps from Shore (Blue Begonia, 2006). She was awarded the 2011 James Hearst Poetry Prize and is a Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant recipient. Recent work appears in Bellevue Literary Review, Caesura, Crab Creek Review, Court Green, Narrative, and the North American Review. Jenifer lives in Poulsbo, Washington, and serves on the Centrum advisory board for the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference.