Catherine Wing Mega-Fauna

for Louise McGarry and Simon Armitage

Though my father was large

I am larger. My tongue weighs

8000 pounds and is the size

of an adult male elephant.

With this burden in my mouth

I admit, I’m not much of a talker.


Though I have eyes

the distance between them is legion

and I have learned to see

via an intricate series of moans and sighs

which moan and sigh

back at me off the ocean floor.


In this way the world

has come to seem

wrapped in complaint,

a litany of sorrowing echoes

collecting in my backscatter.


The movement of my mind

makes sugar out of sunlight

but it is so slow sometimes—

it takes three seconds

just to open my mouth—

that I don’t bother.


The shipwreck of me

when I finally hit bottom

will support an entire ecosystem

and it will take the various eels

and hagfishes decades

to pick my bones clean but

I don’t take much comfort in that.


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