Brittany Perham


Notice the clingy stink
of sea things pinned on sand.
A smell particularly
Atlantic, one unnoticed
by one like me: born here.
When they’ve ticked your name
off the passenger list, and you
are asked, professionally,
to board, your voice’s downy
afterfeather is the first to go
in the clippings of wings, the horn,
the island fog. The fog
goes north a hundred clicks,
the captain, and you, go north.
Professionally, he checks
the compass now and then.
The gulls drop girlish
afterfeathers on the deck.
On the dock I tick your name
on the pads of my fingers.
Darling, the Atlantic will burn
your hands. Something clings
to the side of the boat.
The stink pins me to your collar.

Brittany Perham
“Haberdashery” is from The Curiosities (Parlor Press, 2012).