Cuttlefish

by ...

Michael Prior

 

I meant to acknowledge what you hadn’t yet confessed.
Just as a dog will tolerate strangers who approach
him sideways and with an extended hand, we’ve let

inconveniences beget emergencies. Phones closed,
switched to airplane mode, the atmosphere returned
us to our proper sphere. How could I have known

I was still broadcasting on descent? The slow burn
of aluminum scattering that which lacks mass
at lower pressures, temperatures undiscerned.

I cycled through my states, wore an ill-fitting mask.
Regret thickened asthmatic in a chamber of the heart;
its porthole was a small aquarium. If I tapped on the glass,

bright denizens below swam in and out of the dark
like fallen constellations treading water,
about to flicker out. The impossibility of disembarking

stirred an eel in my ribs. Our departure
forgotten, ambient-lighting asked for patience, pleaded
for continued understanding, as the unclaimed future

rattled in the machine. I saw what was needed,
what I had felt: the dim glow of resignation through
the tint of night—as if clarity was time’s unheeded

toll: the porthole’s algal shrouds pulsed with the blue
of wave and wind. Who rewrote our dialogue? The same
words recalled in different coloured ink. Confused,

I thought of the cuttlefish, struggling to reflect the inane
geometrics of a scientist’s whim. A life spent matching
exteriors, while the interior remained unchanged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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