Nightly, behind a telescope you pine
for elsewhere. For stars, Goliath
gaseous planets, asteroids,
and nebulae. “Lovers want
the moon,” you claim.
You scoff, “Prove it.”
Daybreak, low tide,
I don wet suit and goggles
and pass gulls killing peach crabs
stranded on the quartz shore.
Atlantic surf, gray and frothy, licks my ankles
when I saunter into the sea,
and hike down an inclined
continental slope, rousing
sea floor mud and benthos
I gauge depth
by the water weight
accumulating on my back
and the briskly fading light.
A landmark – a skeleton: whale,
long dead, picked clean. All humpbacks
are Great White here,
their ribs jutting like the private
vestigial legs that most possess,
enduring limbs from landlubber
ancestors who felt dissatisfied
(like you, Darling)
with life on earth and so journeyed
to Earth’s ocean.
Near the Goliath yawns a trench,
a thick mountain range, inverted,
in which I plunge with my parachute,
the sea, cooler than ice in your sweet tea,
black like the astral vacuum
Jupiter may bloom
for your telescope,
but no lenses purge these depths for you, bar
my near-sighted baby blues.
Once, stargazing in Alaska
we admired our Milky Way,
“Beyond my reach,” you said, sighing.
But now I find the lighted sky
reflected here, below my feet:
luminescent organisms –
plankton, fish, worms, vampire squid –
identified by light, not form, remarkably
like your planets and stars.
From the deep trench emerges
a submarine moon, one balloon sphere,
milky, glowing, orbiting Atlantic’s basin. I reach
for her, graze cool flesh that trembles.
You wear moon rocks as charms. However,
this slight squid,
Teuthowenia pellucida (Latin:
the italic tongue
of our science and romance)
around your freckled neck, that neck
straining staunchly to support
an upturned face.
(Note: I wrote this poem for the Sargasso Sea.)