Half Mile Down

Michael Ryan

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 brains,
lethal and beautiful as gods,
locked in endless predation chains.
How seamless then the world would seem,
which life on earth never did,
the living water like a dream
crowded with prowling vampire squid
that want only to stay alive
among other monsters innocent
of all but the pure drive to survive
without self-judgment.
From This Morning by Michael Ryan. Copyright 2012 by Michael Ryan. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

My Bright Aluminum Tumblers by Michael Ryan
Who are you
Outside by Michael Ryan
The dead thing mashed into the street
Poem at Thirty by Michael Ryan
The rich little kids across the street
Reminder by Michael Ryan
Torment by appetite
Sex by Michael Ryan
After the earth finally touches the sun
The Past by Michael Ryan
It shows up one summer in a greatcoat

Further Reading

Poems about Oceans
A Book Of Music
by Jack Spicer
By the Waters of Babylon [V. Currents]
by Emma Lazarus
harbor (the conversion)
by Nick Flynn
If the ocean had a mouth
by Marie-Elizabeth Mali
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Our Valley
by Philip Levine
Out of the Rolling Ocean, the Crowd
by Walt Whitman
Sea Fever
by John Masefield
The Ocean
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Paltry Nude Starts on a Spring Voyage
by Wallace Stevens