Clade Song 9

Tell the Ocean

for all the Syrian refugees who never made it to Greece

You, who hold the cipher song of whales.
Clam cymbal and kombu semaphore. You, who
porpoise dance and orca heave. Keep your slick dark surface slick.
Don’t midnight a kohl-eyed woman. The sun’s inside her pupils.

She has already lost your brother earth.

Directionless stilt walker. Emptied of magnetic pull. Ghosts fill
every boat but she greets them like flesh.

Once she floated while you cradled her head. Precious fruit.



Claudia F. Saleeby Savage is part of the performance duo Thick in the Throat, Honey. Her latest collection of poetry is Bruising Continents (Spuyten Duyvil) with recent work in BOMB, Columbia, Water-Stone Review, and Anomaly (the interview series “Witness the Hour: Arab American Poets Across the Diaspora"). She is a 2018-2021 Black Earth Institute Fellow and her collaboration, reductions, about motherhood and ephemerality with visual artist Jacklyn Brickman, is forthcoming in 2020. Her poetics are influenced by rabid reading, Alice Coltrane, and long hikes in drippy forests. She teaches privately and lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, OR.