I was born still
covered with lanugo—
dense and downy fur
we share with fetal
seals and elephants.

Tempting to romance
my own mythology:
after making love one
warm November Southern
California night,

my mother dreams of
sea lions nursing dark,
sloe-eyed pups. For nine
months after this conception,

blues and greens are
all she sees in color. Most
days, she lingers at the beach,
craves kombu salmon-cakes—

a fish she’s never liked. Takes
baths instead of showers,
submerging to blow bubbles.
She keens the ancient

tunes of selkies—
constant to her Celtic roots.
My father slinks into his
den with earplugs and a bottle.

Three days after birthing me
she hears a giggle and a splash,
finds me swimming pinnipedally
around the kitchen sink.

Story sweet and so much
saltier than truth—
I’ve slipped it in
my résumé.

Jill Dery has published stories in Bellingham Review, Fourteen Hills, and other journals; she's published poetry in AntiphonSan Pedro River ReviewWindfallBroad Street, and Penn Review, with poems forthcoming in Tule Review, Blueline, ELJ, Temenos, and Noctua Review. Her MFA in poetry is from UC Irvine. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she’s lived in Anchorage since 1992.