Emigrating, my father
imagined falling into the Pacific.
How long will the waters hold me;
how long before my bones become rain?
he must have asked.
Father, these were the wrong questions.
Instead: what will feed on my flesh?
What might live by the fall –
everything that swims beneath us.
Picture the fuselage
a wheat stalk for the starving seas
and your thin body: salvation for a world, unseen.
A boy who looked like me once asked
why I wrote so many race poems.
I lied and said,
Truth is, I feel the ocean everywhere,
even though I grew up in Arkansas.
The slow life,
undulating beneath the surface.
Marine biologists call this place the hadal zone,
as though a place the arrogant sun cannot touch
must only be a myth.
Sometimes, I fantasize
of the anglerfish:
blasé to the existence of whole
continents & solar systems,
in love with nothing but its own small light,
ever dangling ahead.
Even in the abyss, something burns.