Swimming with the Coelocanthe

I will not inch into shallows
teeth clenched, wincing at minnows
that dart through grubworm toes

no slow steady immersion
to enure me to pain
or worse
send me sniveling and snot-nosed
to the placid shores of Anhedonia
under Prozac for which we stand

i am compelled to rush headlong
past the tallest mountain to
the ninth cloud from the right
just east of Hale-Bopp

it is from such heights that i execute
the perfect jack-knife dive
slicing deftly downward
through everyday blue and mindless fog
to plunge purposefully into the shocking deep
orgasmic shudders rip through the swells

my trajectory is sure
momentum sends me lower
pressure intensifies
eardrums burst, lungs collapse
gills grow in their stead
jaw unhinged, I breathe in
familiar despondency

i am an intimate of
creatures of the abyss:
eyeless crustacea with blue-tattooed
numbers on grasping pincers
bioluminescent fish scarred by radiation

i have adapted to these depths
none can reach me here
a few brave fools dared to follow
most drowned in the attempt

(c) Juliana Taliaferro

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