The Shadow of Two Blue Crayfish
aren’t blue, low though those shadows fall
between blue-shelled bellies and the mud—
blue-clawed, blue-whiskered, blue-legged,
each part casting a shadow as colorless
as clay. The lemon shark, too, drags
a dull shark-shaped shadow across the sand, and
flying squirrels under UV lights will glow as pink
as bubble gum, yet their shadows on soil fail
to fluoresce. On a winter’s day, even your airy
whiteness of breath, my love, throws a dark shadow
on land. The point of shadows is to saddle dirt
with presence. We blot the sun. We say Here
I am, and darken. And dull. And wait for night
to relieve us of this burden, this curtain of being.
The shadows of the two blue crayfish change
places, and as it is not now winter, I lean in, breathe
my evanescent breath across yours, our very air
changing places, blotting out nothing—not yet.
Jessica Goodfellow’s poetry books are Whiteout (University of Alaska Press, 2017), Mendeleev’s Mandala (2015), and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (2014). A former writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve, she’s had poems in The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Scientific American, Verse Daily, Motionpoems, and Best American Poetry 2018.