A rotten octopus no longer electric,
a mess of kelp strangling driftwood,
and shells, there must always be shells.
Sea cucumbers, seaweed, and snails,
a trilogy of neon green and woven brown
displayed as if offered to
some sea god.
The sea stars have rolled over,
their suction cups sucked dry
with no coral nearby to hug them.
A gull picks through the remains,
his beak sorting out sea bits,
so that nothing living remains.
The crabs, the clams, the cockles,
he even digs in the beach
to ensure no life is buried.
He tugs at some fishing line,
struggles with it while releasing
that dead sea smell, that smell.
He does not stay long,
leaving to find the living,
wanting nothing of the dead.
Originally appeared in “Dead Snakes”, July 2013.
Andrew Jarvis is the author of two published chapbooks of poetry, Choreography (Johns Hopkins University, 2007) and Sound Points (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). He holds an M.A. in Writing (Poetry) from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland. His poems have appeared in Stylus, PennUnion, The Weekly Avocet, Dead Snakes, and The Federal Poet. He received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. He is a professional writer and editor, and he also has been an adjunct professor of English at the University of the District of Columbia.