I want to be cinders and paddle-wake,
birth-warm to the touch.
But I am not a metal vein,
and this sea who plays at youth—
trapped in August or October.
It doesn’t matter when: the storm
always white-cap scales and copper-green
hook and drag me
past sturgeon’s diamonds.
Down, down to the kingdom of 32 degrees.
Thrones of ore-sunk ship,
a crown of diatom ghost.
Extinction never plucked the strands
of five-eyed DNA,
and the mud of things
that don’t know they’re dead
clings to my roots.
Sea lilies crush the space
between my nerves with this guilty
In the bubbles of my drowned
migration, trilobites sing
isn’t this a beautiful country?
Ashely Adams recently acquired an MA in Writing and Literature at Northern Michigan University, where she also worked as an associate editor for NMU’s literary journal, Passages North. She has a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University, and has been previously published in Rum Punch Press, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Permafrost, Flyway, and Anthropoid.