Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sunrise with Sea Monsters

by Tanis MacDonald

Take this simple test to see
if you should spend more time
in the natural world. Name ten
kinds of local trees. Ten local
birds. Ten naturally-occurring
local flora. In what phase is

the moon tonight? When did you last
see a sunrise? When did you last
sleep beneath your canoe on a tiny
island? Natural. Do you believe in
the power of sunrise to dispel
sandflies? How high did you jump

when the morning bugled in with
a dog’s head and the torn
remains of a net? How quickly did
you launch your canoe? Have you ever
fallen from a great height in a cloud
of wax? Are those your legs disappearing

into the water? Are you now or have you
ever been dumped
overboard for the insurance? How close
are the monsters? Test to see. How much
do you believe the scholarly
theory that the monsters are just

fish? How will you
string your rod? Name ten
successful lures. Are you sun blind?
Are you giving up the ship or just
going down with all hands? When were you
last boarded, press-ganged, seized

amidships? Are you a Jonah or just  
not wanted on the voyage? Is that
an albatross around your
neck or are you just happy
to sea? Take this. Why did you

bless the water snakes? Where did you first
meet them?  Were you drinking water water
everywhere? (By gum, that’s mutiny,
sir; that’s entrapment.)  Did you lure
the monster with your shapely pegleg?
This island’s mine, by Sycorax

my mother; that’s her swimming
starboard. Stand up now, grip the
gunwhale if you must, and show
some goddamned respect. Simple.

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