Dolphin Skeleton

by Diane Blue-Solis

for Eva Saulitis, renowned Alaskan Scientist and Writer, in memoriam

Must all love stories end in tragedy? Are they all fated before they dawn to take back their happily ever afters? Near the last of that spectacular summer, I saw it and knew

it was a strange secretive specimen the poet found on her morning hike along the shores of Kachemak Bay. Placing it on the table before me with inestimable delicacy and care, she told me the fragile exotic thing encircling itself was the fetal skeleton of a dolphin.

Mermaid infant-ribs dovetailed the spine like a feather bracelet. In their intricacy I recalled every miniature rice-paper-thin skeleton my father brought home to me. Sparrows, mice, young mud frog mummies…. Treasured relics, the trophies adorned my shelves, more beautiful than broaches or dolls to me then and now.

How, with a child’s hands, did I enfold and place each on my windowsill without crushing one? How have the archer’s bow lips of the world kissed the delta rising from her heart? Already, I yearn for things my soul is trying to be strong and delicate enough to contain.

Mornings, coiled around myself, it’s clear we’re all fated to linger after she leaves, pining for treasures hidden in troves the coming springs will never see.


The poetry of Diane Blue-Solis has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, excerpted in a book about creating in community, and recently published in literary journals and magazines, including Big Muddy, The Lost Country, and elsewhere. Her poem, “White Dog, Femur Shrinking” is forthcoming in a collection honoring the life and work of feminist scholar and poet Gloria Anzadua. Her poem, ‘”Coyotyl”, is forthcoming in The Healing Muse, annual journal of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, SUNY. Blue-Solis resides on the central coast of California with her life partner.

Photo credit: Bill Gracey via Flicker, All Creative Commons

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