I am the tsunami
before it hits
before the compound
fracture of the earth
made itself known

before the rising
before the celestial spirits
curled themselves
under ocean floor

I cannot translate
how each life is molecule
of one hydrogen
two oxygen
rolling itself out
until a fishing village
is deplete
of all its nets

I cannot reverse the language
of salt
or kelp
or the dialect of the thunder
inside a wave

I cannot warn them
about erasure
or shorelines

I am propelled
by the birth canal
of an ancient sea
to find a small place
amongst the living
and when I recede
pray each granule
of water left behind
will have mercy on those
who will rise
and begin to count the dead