14. (and other poems by Rannvá Holm Mortensen)


today the sky is gunmetal gray
cold steel fallen
to the seabed
the surface of the sea hardened
to a tarnished mirror
and wanderlust pours 
from my body
like smoke
i walk on the sea
a mirror carrying me
past the tip of the island
the foghorn’s frequency matches
that of my bloodstream 
i ache and my shadow
hovers over the deep


everything is salt
the salt of the sea
the salt in the blood
you and me
me and you
the salt sweat
i licked off your body
saline feeding an iv line
the drip drip drip 
into the drop chamber
down the tube
through the needle
into the body
salt oozes from my body
coats my skin
i kneel
and crush tiny grains of salt
they stick to my lashes
the salt taste of the sea
the salt of oyster shells
salty fingers
salty memory


when did i first consider the sound
was it always there
that note
that vibrates through everything
the sound of eternity

was it born
in a storm beyond the stars
or in the light
that burst between my fingers
while i was fishing for trout
glass green
trout leap like arcs of electricity
beneath the seaweed
her braids are dripping
skinny bare legs
clunky mary janes
a red bucket
today’s haul
of magical sea creatures 
blue white membrane
iridescent intestines
bake on bedrock
a strange concord
of eye and sex
straining to comprehend a foreign universe


give me a canvas
subconsciousness worlds 
comforting brushstrokes
as i wait
i can feel you breathe
as i wait
for the day to wake
i rest in darkness
i let go
sink endlessly
to the sea bed
days come
like schools of fish
in greenish light
they caress my face
with their soft fins
a gently fluttering radiance
as i wait for
blood to swell my breasts 
for milk
to flow 
and overflow


  • Matthew Landrum is a poet and translator. He is the author of Berlin Poems and translator of Are there Copper Pipes in Heaven? by Katrin Ottarsdóttir. He lives in Detroit.

  • Rannvá Holm Mortensen is a leading Faroese visual artist. Her book-length poem, Sólsmakkur, explores themes of feminism, landscape, and the creative process.

  • Illustrations of varieties of pigeons from Illustriertes Prachtwerk sämtlicher Taubenrassen (1906). Text by Emil Schachtzabel and illustrations by Anton Schoner.