the school of failed marine biologists tell me what you'd like to save when you grow up? when i was small i said, "possibly whales." my first choice was dinosaurs but those were too far gone. filled every open vessel with salt water. stood on the ocean shore & pretended to be a conductor pulling waves in & out. jellyfish washed up like ancient hats. then, i almost drowned in a river. a shark came carrying a prophecy. he said, "you are not & then you are not again." i asked, "i am not what?" i assumed he meant i am not becoming what i thought i would. amounting to something is very overrated. i used to think i would ride a boat into the open water. talk to kelp forests. mend the fins of dolphins. discover the written languages of octopi. as children we have such loftly ideas of what it means to be an anything. i want to be what i thought a marine biologist was. endless conversations with water mouthed animals. no fear of drowning at all. a scuba dive into the lair of a giant squid. don't give me science like data. i want mystery & air bubble rising to the surface. under the waves the sun becomes a grandmother. sources of light. i want to be a marine biologist still but wanting means something different each year i am alive. plunging. a whale carcass feathering open. how deep the world goes & how most of my day is an ode to sidewalks & streets. i can of course try again right now. i drive to the ocean to issue an apology for not drowning. the water does not remember as it can not possibly remember everyone who thinks they can mother it. how can you mother the mother? the answer is. you cannot. you can only listen & listen until both your lips are the same.