“Water is Always Available to the Animals of the Sea”


(From an educational sign at the Marine Science Center, Port Townsend, WA)

Why speak of it? Moon face, dog face,
bloody fist face, face like a pumpkin pie.
Angle of fin. Flick of tentacle.
Then the frilled distress of gill,
the copper scent of despair:
Why speak of its absence either?

Air is cruel, and some things are fat
with self-prophecy; “obvious”
is too easy and flat a word to serve.
Banana face, buck tooth, saw nose,
fan dancer, flirt.
There is only the present; water may ebb

or flow but why measure a constant?
Who takes comfort in what’s not noted?
Tomorrow, tomorrow, yells a man on the shore.
We think time is our element. We dip our nets
into the sea, a silver line, a lure– moon face, dog face, hope like an open door.