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Nature Poem with a Compulsive Attraction to the Shark

ISSUE:  Summer 2019

the hive swells outside
as its residents itch to lick our inner walls

for moisture and respite

from January’s cold appendages
nature      having thrummed 
on its own
blood and grace for millennia

until ours—a short tailored tenure 
a blip in comparison to the shark

more ancient than flora
killing only to feed

moving so it will not die
it wants only what the sea has brined 

the shark does not know

violence fades to nimbus 
depletes blue to red the tides 

where pleas parch the lips of tempest
the terror in the land the terror at sea

on the eve of our industrial revolution
made weapon of hungry thing

I’ve heard this slave 
song before

boats from across the ocean escorting 
these mature predators in swarms

mouths that hungered about 

the taste of slaves 

men and the sharks parting at shore
shaking with a taste for each other

turning the word with every tide 
the currents lap at my latent limb 

every volta America wrote 
for me had teeth

won’t you allow me now
to lift my lip and show you mine


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