The Ripple Effect

Jamey Dunham

 
The sleepy shark rolls from bed at the sound of the bell: the fisherman's foot ringing in the water. On the pier a young girl purchases a dried apricot from a vendor and rolls its wrinkled skin over her tongue before biting down. Behind tightly drawn curtains, the boy who might have grown up to be her great love (or grocer) succumbs to his illness and orphans his parents, as the shark draws behind a curtain of foam. The girl, grown tired of waiting for her father, disappears into the crowded streets of the village as a bell ringing from the marketplace wakes the sleeping fisherman just in time to reel in his apricot. The young boy watching from the pier bites his tongue at the sight of the wrinkled skin. Succumbing to his illness, he runs off to the grocer as if to his lover. The young girl, running late for dinner, stops off at the marketplace on her way home. She purchases a shark from the vendor and leads it home through the crowded streets of the village to meet her parents. The girl is an orphan but it doesn't matter. There are wedding bells ringing in her ears. They're in love.
 
"The Ripple Effect" © Jamey Dunham, from The Bible of Lost Pets (Salt, 2009). Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing, London.

Further Reading

Poems about Sharks
Angel Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Ants and Sharks
by Tomasz Rózycki
Ashore
by Ernest Hilbert
At Shark Reef Sanctuary
by Eva Alice Counsell
Beach Walk
by Henri Cole
Coffee and Oranges
by Joel Brouwer
Flying Fish: An Ode [excerpt]
by Charles Wharton Stork
Haunted Seas
by Cale Young Rice
I Wonder What It Feels Like to be Drowned?
by Robert Graves
In a Breath
by Carl Sandburg
Inheritance of Waterfalls and Sharks
by Martín Espada
Murray Dreaming
by Stephen Edgar
No Place Like Home
by Stephen Cushman
Ode on Dictionaries
by Barbara Hamby
Plague of Dead Sharks
by Alan Dugan
Rome
by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Seal Lullaby
by Rudyard Kipling
Sharks in the Rivers
by Ada Limón
Sharks' Teeth
by Kay Ryan
Shoal of Sharks
by Richard O'Connell
Song of the Paddlers [excerpt]
by Herman Melville
Submarine Mountains
by Cale Young Rice
Summer [excerpt]
by James Thomson
The Bluefish
by Isaac McLellan
The Maldive Shark
by Herman Melville
The Sea is History
by Derek Walcott
The Shark
by William Henry Venable
The Shark
by Lord Alfred Douglas
The Shark
by Isaac McLellan
The Shark
by Judith Beveridge
The Shark's Parlor
by James Dickey
The Sharks
by Denise Levertov
The Sirens
by James Russell Lowell
The Steel Rippers
by Patricia Carlin
Tiger Shark
by Hailey Leithauser
Untitled [There, by the crescent moon, the shark]
by Shido
Upon Shark
by Robert Herrick
What To Do About Sharks
by Vivian Shipley
White Sales
by Allen Grossman
World Below the Brine
by Walt Whitman