IN OUR ELEMENT
Tanks of luminescent plasm
moon jellies glowing against a darkened
wall, brilliant yellows and blues
shimmering on wafer bodies, the shy
octopus behind his coral,
fussy affairs of crawfish, catfish, river bass, gar--
all were arrayed by region of the western
hemisphere, from Amazon to Mississippi, and by
lack of inclination to eat one's
How counter-intuitive, the concept of Aquaria:
build, on land, an island of sea.
Harness electricity, put water on
No one evacuates
fish. Was the darkness also silent
as they strained for oxygen?
No: hydrosonic cries, suffocation,
death in one's own
element, bereft of what sustains.
Rebecca Raphael's poems have appeared in The Lyric, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, New Laurel Review, Able Muse, Di-ver-city (Anthology of the Austin International Poetry Festival), and the New Orleans anthology From a Bend in the River. Rebecca Raphael is a native of New Orleans and a scholar of religion currently living in Austin.