Getting Down and Deep

by Cornelia Rohde

The only noise I hear is the
steady sucking of my breath,
so loud it smothers sound.
The lifeline for my lungs
sends rafts of bubbles to the surface
into gleaming shafts of sun
like scatterings of spun glass.

My ears relieve by cracking
when I descend,
weightless
as a piece of drifting thistledown.
Beneath the turquoise surface is a gloaming.
With a springy bounce I land on sand
in a brightly colored other world of
shapes, waving softly without hands.

Caves of white lace filaments,
black, purple, chartreuse fans,
complex coral plates,
beckon me. A Moray eel,
green as a gherkin, exposes
needle teeth from his protective lair;
“touch me not”, his fierce mouth shouts,
while an octopus, his neighbor,
mottles red as if allergic to my stare.

Spiral cones called Christmas Trees
decorate a stately coral,
swiftly suck in if I poke them,
timidly peek out again
after I drop deep down a wall,
encountering a broad Elephant Ear,
a clinging colossal mushroom.
Eyes wide, fins gently moving,
I want to stay suspended
in my underwater home.
The sea brings out the fish in me,
or surely,
the anenome.

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