By: Christian Ward
We wear the ocean for haute couture
but have upside down McDonald’s arches
for eyes in an unexpected show of humility.
Misunderstood? You bet. We feed budgies
with the bones of our dead but few understand
our enjoyment of aquatic flight, gliding
in the deep like the earliest pioneers.
We’re smarter than most marine Einsteins
(Looking at you, champagne cork dolphins)
but the land dwellers only see our cellular
light shows and the reservoirs of ink
buried deep inside. We’d scare them off
with Cthulhu faces but they’d laugh.
Say how cute. Perhaps, when we’re gone,
the waters will show their grief
in harlequin patterns, never revealing
the punchline until the saltwater is purring
around their ankles.
More than a Yeti wannabe
or a Hasselhoff cosplayer,
it wears desire like a two-piece
as it piles onto a neighbour
to form a living cairn. The vent
is a television studio set,
the ocean its audience.
Every inch of fur says I want you.
The water relishes the unscripted
moments between a pair of crabs
while we peel the earth until vulture-bald
and the laughter track is echoing
in our ears.
We shuck on victims like bamboo
shoots while daydreaming
of boogying to mating flights.
Dancing with the Stars this is not.
Nor are we kawaii cute. Our panda
colours should warn you
of venom strong enough to smoothie
your insides while you fade
into lies of safe captivity. We will shuck
on your dreams like a bad relationship.
Our forests hum with the near-field
communication of warning songs,
the floor littered with bodies
bent in different directions, uncertain
of the flight of their faith.
Randomly they appear,
like pins scattered across a Google map
or lost children who’ve given up hope
and decided to settle down there and then.
Their novelty oversized hand-like leaves
always pristine, never munched on
by bird or fox. Most come for the fruit:
Fat and squat as garlic bulbs. Purple-blue
borrowed from new-born cuckoo chicks
squealing like its seeds. Both thankful
for life, not chasing after it. No worrying
about its belly pared open like a Caesarean
or a marriage to unwanted saltiness. Yet.