Michael Ryan

Half Mile Down

My sick heart and my sick soul
I'd gladly fasten in a bag
and drop into an ocean-hole
to float in darkness as a rag.
Would it learn to make its light?
Maybe in a million years.
A million years of constant night
in which it can't stop its fears
flaring their nightmare tentacles
and bioluminescent eyes
as cold and sharp as icicles
under moonless, starless skies:
medusae, spookfish, cephalopods,
jellies with no eyes or brain,
lethal and beautiful as gods,
locked in an endless predation chain.
How seamless then the world would seem,
which life on earth never did,
the living water like a dream
teeming with prowling vampire squid
that want only to stay alive
among other monsters innocent
of all but the pure drive to survive
without self-judgement.

Michael Ryan

 Michael   Ryan Michael Ryan has written four books of poems, an autobiography, a memoir, and a collection of essays about poetry and writing. His New and Selected Poems was published by Houghton Mifflin and won the 2005 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.
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