Amanda Hawkins

Harbor Seal

She did not seem
                on any one thing.
She swam
        the river
                dark mottled face
        above the surface
                her nose
                        pointed upstream.

        But      then she turned
her face      neck      fair
        bare belly
          to the sky
                and closed her eyes—
as if to listen
        or remember
                or memorize.


You come home from the east
smelling of woodsmoke, pinesap, and man.

I pick ashes from your sweater and buck brawl
moves in the heave of your shoulders.

Something about the way you swallow the mountain
makes me want you to go away often,

makes me want to learn to read a map,
bushwhack, set out without fear and find my own wild.

I would head west.
my breasts would leak from solitude,

and when I would return there would be no fire for you,
no burl, no mountain. Instead,

saltmarsh. The clean scent of water death.
Redwood. Fern. Seagrass

tangled in my hair, butterfly wings stuck to my eyelids,
and under my tongue the taste of oyster and calcium

and all the thick mineral-rich waters I’d drink.

Author Portrait

Amanda Hawkins has published poetry in CRUX, The Yolo Crow, Edible Sacramento, and Christianity and Literature. She received her Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Regent College and wrote the chapbook Two Suns: Poems of Parallel Lands for her creative thesis. She now teaches writing at William Jessup University and is at work on a book of poetry and a book of prose. She lives with her husband and two children in Northern California.