There’s been a disaster: all the sharks are gone,
stamped out in one gulp.
Yucatan, 800 whale sharks and 300 giant manta rays and so many glittering gray
velvets of diamonds and suddenly down crashed
the meteor of petrol and blood, and gills like the cabbage-silk
raped off ground meatballs
changed the waters red and brown. How will we live,
write, die, fear
the ocean, when we have stamped out all the sharks?
There’s been a disaster: all the humans are gone,
coughed away like a cord of smoke.
Maine, 1000 worm diggers, 3000 lobster feasters
under a sweaty awning, sighs
of drawl, Yosemite, one million footprints, fifteen-thousand forty-three cameras splicing
light in slow motion, Rio, a man-slide of dusty diapers
women and coffee grounds rolling into the sea
of people, faces clouding water,
dissoluting, tiny bubbles of oil like earrings
shimmer to the top and pop at the surface, promises strewn and left
askew bodies changed by the waters, sidle deadly up the beaches
pushed by tides,
open their cavernous rib cages to crabs who pray to their heathen suns
and pinch the meat out of the hearts, unwriting the story
of trailing fingers in the sand.
The waters are changed:
all the sharks and the humans are gone, all that is left
is the sun, still dancing on an empty floor
of ever-twisting blue
blinded by its own star, oblivious to the netting that no longer waits to catch
an acrobat fallen from topside
before she should hit the floor
where slimes as yet unknown stir
to catch the electric backwash: there’s been a disaster, a thousand years ago
today in the sky, a supernova, a bright burst of hope and death —
The world awaits.
Image credits in order of appearance:
“Sharks caught as bycatch in fishing nets targeting Grey Mackerel spawning aggregations. Photo (c) Dave Cook.” Cairns and Far North Environment Centre, http://cafnec.org.au/2014/10/30/call-to-bring-qld-fisheries-management-into-the-21st-century/
“Mbour, Senegal.” By Sebastián Losada – Mbour, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12620876
“The artist Wyland photographed this shark while diving on Kronos Reef with Dr. Sylvia Earle and others. Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument January 2012 (Photo: Wyland) Celebrating a New Year. In January, 2012, Service employees prepared to start another year dedicated to conservation and preservation.” By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters – Shark, Kronos Reef, Uploaded by Dolovis, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31315938
“A foetus of a small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula). In the photo the umbilical cord and food supply are clearly visible.” By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands – Shark egg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28145888