Boreal Selkie

By 
brit griffin

I shed my pelt on the shoreline,
leaving the warmth of the
glossy grey coat to shiver
and head for land.

I am careful to walk where the water 

will erase my steps,
and then into the bulrushes
that will hide my trail
so I cannot be tracked.

I don’t want the man to know.

It is not out of lust that he watches for me -
my skin wraps my bones like
jack pine bark,
hair hanging in plaques and tangles
of bleached seaweed.

No, this man does not watch for me out of desire,
he watches for me out of fear.

By the time my feet feel
the sponge of the forest floor,
he is getting his flashlight,
cursing himself for missing me,
pulling on his boots
and stepping out into the dark
to come and find me.

But he will get here,
into this forest he forgot to cut down,
and he will search and search,
but he will not be able to find me,
not able to tell the hag from the tree,
boreal blood from birch sap.

He will retreat to check
his maps and machines
to see what they can tell him
about tracking a creature
that is born in water,
and goes to die amongst the trees.

brit griffin is a writer and the mother of three daughters. Her first novel, The Wintermen, was published in 2014, and she is currently working on a sequel. Griffin works for Timiskaming First Nation, an Algonquin community, and lives in Northern Ontario.

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