Birth of a Shark

by Mackenzie McCain (Univ. Mount Union)


Oh, Sailor.
Poor Sailor,
your loose lips are pallid lavender and
you are so very far from home. Follow
my melody and let it caress your skin like
the water flowing between the layers of your starched
white fabric uniform and its smooth gold buttons.
Let me take you back to my cove where all my
beautiful sisters
wait.

I have heard all about you and your raging words
and your hands and your salt cured friends.
I've seen you all cruise in your sun-bleached ship
with the bumper-stickered bow, and call out to my sisters
that sit on islands of pearls. I've watched unsolicited
hooks and hands grab at nacreous scales
and iridescent sea shells and listened to stories about
the way you pilfer the hearts of those you use.
I've heard your tales of chasing tails and
the ignorant of the way the sand and grit in your words
erode the pin curl of a mermaid's mouth and
dulls the pearl finish on a siren's
sharpened teeth.

You were grateful when I found you
desperately grasping towards
floating planks of your home,
your friends, and your dignity.
Thankful, even for my very presence.
But as you watch the bright stars
that have always guided you through
god's paintbrush seas fade,
you start to realize that not a single lifeline,
from my captivated sisters or your capsized friends,
has been thrown your way.
How unfortunate, poor Sailor. You should have
stopped to wonder how a good ships
starts to sink in th first place.