Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Half Mile Down

My sick heart and my sick soul
I'd gladly fasten in a bag
and drop into an ocean-hole
to float in darkness as a rag.

Would it learn to make its light?
Maybe in a million years.
A million years of constant night
in which it can't stop its fears

flaring their nightmare tentacles
and bioluminescent eyes
as cold and sharp as icicles
under moonless, starless skies:

medusae, spookfish, cephalopods,
jellies with no eyes or brains,
lethal and beautiful as gods,
locked in endless predation chains.

How seamless then the world would seem,
which life on earth never did,
the living water like a dream
crowded with prowling vampire squid

that want only to stay alive
among other monsters innocent
of all but the pure drive to survive
without self-judgment.

Credit


From This Morning by Michael Ryan. Copyright © 2012 by Michael Ryan. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Author


Michael Ryan

Born in 1946, the poet Michael Ryan's works have been selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Date Published: 2012-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/half-mile-down