In Coral Seas

Come with me

gliding like a great pelagic

through coral seas

of emerald green

and Prussian blue.

You’ve sprouted wings,

the current nudges you along

like a mother’s hand,

time stops,

you hear nothing

but your own breath

rising in a stream of bubbles

above your head.


A tiger grouper waits with parted lips

for cleaner shrimp,

a speckled moray draws a breath,

a school of snapper pose beneath

an overhang of orange sponge,

a stoplight parrotfish gnaws the reef

with sharp, pointed teeth,

a nurse shark raises his bulbous head

like a huge, satisfied cat,


You know that this is not your world,

yet lulled by the swaying of sea fans,

drawn in by the beckoning fingers

of the blue-tipped anemones,

dazzled by the encrusted jewels

of the spiny lobsters,

you could easily succumb

to rapture of the deep,

ignoring the alarm on your computer

and the thumbs up of

your increasingly frantic buddy.

So you stuff your ears

against its siren song

and slowly, regretfully ascend.


(originally published in Sprout)



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