Sea Serpent

By Caroline Misner

A crackless carapace, pale and blue
as the ocean that swarms around him,
he glides like a sailboat along
the guileless waves; he leaves
a stream of foam in his wake,
fluttering and silky as a Chinese fan.

The spikes along his spine grasp
the surface, gasp for breath;
in murky water, opal moons are mirrored
in his shell. He’s a refugee
who skims the reef seeking handouts

of decaying fish and the silt
that floats about, free for the taking;
instinct warns him to avoid
those strange shells and the hulls
of ships that skim the membrane
of the sea above his scaly head;

moving slow as an inhalation,
studded with barnacles that attend him,
the spines dive and gulp for kisses
through currents strong as the black
winds that buffet the bows overhead,
and below the blooming anemones

and other small creatures that languish
on sandy beds pay him tribute.
He knows nothing of man, only
the scuba divers that collect his scales,
plumbing the sea for its treasures,
lurking in the temperate brine.

Someday, they will find him
and discover the secrets of his cavern
home where he has hoarded trinkets
looted from sunken ships for over
a thousand years; and the dead white
bones of sailors, softened by the sea.

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