Siphonophore

posted November 15, 2020

After Stephen Philbrick.

They say the mysteries of the heavens
Are nothing compared to the mysteries of the seas
Whose leagues we cannot fathom,
Whose depths we take for granted
Underfoot, our terrestrial backyard.

Still, consider the Siphonophore
The largest living creature, 150 feet
Of cloned cells, (re)producing an infinite
White line, swirling galactically in the blue
Somewhere near Australia.

Siphon from the Greek ‘tube’
Plus pherein ‘to bear.’

But don’t we also hear semaphore?
Can we bear this call for help?
Hello? Operator?

Or are we the ones who will need to sound the alarm?
Maybe these cloned bodies will get longer until
They encircle the planet, holding us
Like a girdle, like a hostage,
Like a lover, like a mother.

We all need a hearth to return to, or how would we tell our stories?
We all need a wilderness to get lost in, or where would our stories come from?

Many of my dear friends are writing poems this month, and maybe you are too. We’re part of a longstanding tradition called 30 Poems in November, and we write to raise funds for the work of Center for New Americans, a local non-profit that supports newcomers to this country on the level of goods, services, helpful information, English lessons and more. I am posting first drafts of my poems daily on my blog, although I am defining “Poem” loosely. I would be grateful if you would sponsor me and/or another poet. All funds go directly to Center for New Americans.

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