Jellyfish 1.0 | Spring 2009 | leave the archives

Miranda Dennis is 312 feet above sea level.

Miranda Dennis

I Hate the Narwhal

These whales are ugly
             I think we ought to go home
             meanwhile, the captain’s scoliosis
leaves him deliciously draped
             over the ship’s prow

                           Everything is precious, except
the burnt toast & slop from the galley,
the thumb of the cook
folded neatly in the omelet
no one would touch for days
             eventually the gulls came

And my binoculars have frozen
to my face, my Arctic heart
has made a mathematical mistake

             I turn left every time,
watching first the sun sink, then watching
night grow fat on itself
             We slit the bellies of beached things
             and burn what oil spills out around us

When the Research Assistant Indexed the Book of Courages

Learning to be brave, my mother’s a good shot,
though the rifle knocks her down, taking down the beer
cans, too, from the whitewashed fence, Tom Sawyered
by another,
            here it must be the South, or some
analog, maybe a crooked street in New England,
where the Jehovah’s Witness sings, crumpling
a pamphlet into my fist (“Teachers? What
would we do without them?”), and I watch
her take to the crosswalk with the force
of a storm on the ocean, and Jesus sleeping,
a wrinkled brain that holds dreams of vegetable
gardens in World War II, nylons drawn up
the housewife’s back, her back bent
to the sun, dirt under her nails and one lone
slug on the wrist, its dumb faceless face,
content to moisten all that it can touch,
like a kiss, Jesus dreams of a kiss.