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. 

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