They arrive on warm waves,
rising and falling with the swell,
jostling among themselves
accommodatingly, as if happy
to be undulating thus on a whim,
whichever current takes their fancy.
They move by convulsions,
as if suddenly repulsed by where they’ve been.
Today the sea is full of them,
thousands of floating umbels,
medusas that bring the gulls swooping down.
So many, as if some whaler
had poured its viscera slipshod over the gunnels.
I could scoop a handful up
but know they would slip
through my fingers like water
lacking the wherewithal.
On sand they die such flaccid deaths, miscarried
and left to rot when the tide
retreats. Who would think they light
the deepest of abysses,
those aeons of dark ages?
But here is one in the submersible’s glare,
a pulse of life holding casual sway
before cutting the umbilical cord
and diving down
into further darkness.
lit like a chandelier.
If the soul had filaments
it would radiate like this
and drift as ethereally,
as vague as slops yet beautiful
having left the body behind
to grow dull,
to be poured over by crabs and flies,
turned inside out,
like this one at my feet,
something a drab might abort.