Like the Orkney Islanders, my daughter dreams seals are human.
In a rush-bottomed boat her infant--born dead--
floats over weeks through years in and out of seas
lolling on waves, uillean pipes pealing.
A brown-eyed seal suckles her with breast milk
so rich it raises inches of fat on her;
black moons peer from a cave until the tide
recedes. On every midsummer's eve
every ninth night every seventh stream
the infant clears the water and slips her skin
down to the sand like an old coat. She skips
and twirls on lonely stretches of pearl-lit shore.
To the sea's slow lapping, the mother
gentles her sloe-eyed child to sleep.
Shape-shifter, half-seal half-human,
rests in white sun on an outlying reef.