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About this Poem 

"As an underwater photographer one of the things I love most about being in the ocean is interacting with a world that has nothing to do with me, a world with its own passions, social structures, dangers. The awareness that we humans are harming that world is always with me so I wondered what the ocean might say if given a chance."
—Marie-Elizabeth Mali

If the ocean had a mouth

Marie-Elizabeth Mali

I'd lean close, my ear
to her whisper and roar,
her tongue scattered
with stars.
 
She'd belt her brassy voice
over the waves' backbeat.
No one sings better than her.
 
Would she ever bite
the inside of her cheek?
 
Would she yell at the moon
to quit tugging at her hem,
or would she whistle, drop
her blue dress and shimmy
through space to cleave
to that shimmer?
 
What did she mean to say
that morning she spit out
the emaciated whale
wearing a net for a corset?
 
All this emptying
on the sand. Eyeless
shrimp. Oiled pelicans.
 
Within her jaws the coral forests,
glittering fish, waves like teeth,
her hungry mortal brine.

Copyright © 2014 by Marie-Elizabeth Mali. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 26, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Marie-Elizabeth Mali