Sea Urchins

Sea Urchins


The sea urchins star
the sea floor like sunken mines
from a rust-smirched war

filmed in black and white.
Or if they are stars they are
negatives of light,

their blind beams brittle
purple needles with no eyes:
not even spittle

and a squint will thread
the sea’s indigo ribbons.
We float overhead

like angels, or whales,
with our soft underbellies
just beyond their pales,

their dirks and rankles.
Nothing is bare as bare feet,
naked as ankles.

They whisker their risks
in the fine print of footnotes’
irksome asterisks.

Their extraneous
complaints are lodged with dark dots,

ellipses… seizers
seldom extract  even with
olive oil, tweezers.


Sun-bleached, they unclench
their sharps, doom scalps their hackles,
unbuttons their stench.

Their shells are embossed
and beautiful calculus,
studded turbans, tossed

among drummed pebbles
and plastic flotsam—so smooth,
so fragile, baubles

like mermaid doubloons,
these rose-, mauve-, pistachio-
tinted macaroons.

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