I have paid cash money, in Hawaii and elsewhere,
to board boats with the hopes of seeing whales.
Or dolphins, for that matter—finned creatures
who fuck for pleasure, not procreative need—
but never did I see one. My fellow passengers
moaned and demanded a refund, but I kept
my gaze steadied, on the untroubled seas.
I knew they were there, beneath the waves:
mermaids, via sonic radar, singing each to each.
Why should it matter if it was I who believed?
The rough wind rustled my hair. The sea foam
dappled my blouse, purchased with currency.
Love is the question, the answer, and acquest:
how can I explain all three have always been
nestled, like Matryoshka dolls, inside me.
I was a property acquired, a purchased gift:
my inheritance a sea mammal’s blowhole,
singing sad songs of poverty and grief.
I am but a bracket for loss, that which
cannot be obtained by might, right,
or other forms of legal intransigency.
Form is emptiness: emptiness, form.
I am not passionate, stoic, nor cynical.
I worship truth without needing its
appearance: I’m a spider weaving
her web, then living in its dream.
About Virginia Konchan
Author of three poetry collections, Hallelujah Time (Véhicule Press, 2021), Any God Will Do and The End of Spectacle (Carnegie Mellon UP, 2020 and 2018); a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017); and four chapbooks, as well as coeditor (with Sarah Giragosian) of Marbles on the Floor: How to Assemble a Book of Poems (University of Akron Press, 2022), Virginia Konchan’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and The Believer.