Proserpina, Going Deeper

by Jack Hollis Marr

In shallow waters stolen coral fish eggs burst
against my tongue like softest salty pomegranate
seeds - no bitter core - and I will
though I forget the taste of food
in briny dimness.

deeper, then.

I shall see phosphorescent dance, lure and mating-flash;
be seen in great unempty space by giant, unreflecting, architeuthic eye;
learn, but not delight in, the collective noun for jellyfish in their stinging fluther.
Touch me now, you alien angular dangle of salt-white spidering elbows:
cephalopod blessing of Magnapinna
white plume moth of the depths
to carry memories away,
and I will be so far away:
oh, so very far
and deep.

so, deeper.

bathypelagic where the light fades out

and I am come at last to the true Hades, science-named
and -certified:
the darkest place where the light never comes from the sun and I know
I will die down here and
I will be mourned
somewhere up there on
the unimaginable surface, land unthinkable dry
where they remember words like rain and revival
in sun or under clouds
while I am become nothing: my sea-change into something
whalebone-bare and unressurectable

while I am become
brother to the tubeworm and the blind red shrimp
monastic sea-cowled brother to
the great congregation of consumption
wriggling hagfish blackly cleaning
my sunken self down at last to bone:

the undancing white bone that will not rise
again when the sea gives up
what gave itself to her.


Jack Hollis Marr (also published as Jack H. Marr) is an English writer of speculative fiction and poetry. In the past five years he has lived both in the UK and in Montreal, Quebec. He frequently writes on issues of gender, sexuality and disability, juxtaposed with mythic and folkloric motifs.

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