Given what minuscule portions of ocean humans have seen—
what knowledge must be stored within the minds of fish!
Doubtless they know more of us than we of them.
Intrepid finned spelunkers—They know of rugs and glassware.
Chandeliers from shipwrecks of valiant craft. They have seen
our strange, lanky forms garbed in slick black suits with tanks.
O Creatures who breathe Precambrian oxygen—
who know and taste life at its very origin,
and gape with unseeing eyes and filtering mouths. They know
what lies at earth’s darkest. The inner workings
of that which is closest to its core.
They sunk to its deepest and became
accustomed to blackness. Saw nothing and became
long-toothed shadows that flit at the backs of nightmares. Became
tentacled horrors that reside within legends
of dead-eyed mariners. They know
the vastness of nothing. They have glimpsed
the edge of nonexistence—They have peered
into the very void that threatens to swallow them up.
A shark has little to compare to the hunger of that empty blue.
We, who grew legs.
We, who grew lungs.
For existential fear we crawled out—
craved the solace of sun-warmed rocks and chlorophyll—
we, who gazed upon wild Eden and deemed it ours.
No longer did we feed upon fear in wide-eyed, glass-eyed sleep.
No longer did we recall what drove us
to seek oases of solid ground.
O Fish, O holy and knowing,
we raise you up from lucid drifting
in praise of a brain that came before us.
We pull you from the deep in droves
to sink our teeth into your jeweled flesh.
By Daniel Godwin