by Neil Lewis
Moon jellies are braggarts, resilient.
They come towards shore in plumes
to tease the anemones,
spread out and naked on the wet sides of cliffs
exposed by the tide.
Anemones get dried up by the sun.
Their fronds crisp
like rice noodles fresh from cellophane.
Some flake off into the big broth of the sea,
but most wait, stay crisped,
dead and hideous attached to that fat slab of radiolarian chert
while their cousins and mothers bulge next to them,
air until the water rises again and they get a quarter day’s respite
because their dead look good underwater.
So good that the living
can pretend they’re more
than socks full of salt and wind.
Moon jellies, they’re braggarts.
In plumes they come in by the thousands,
getting close enough to blow kisses
with each greedy flap of the exumbrella.
Their bodies, stunted by sick
nonchalance and blindness,
soak up the steely sky.
Lots die and are left behind,
still lumps knocking
every time the water coughs
against them, into the screaming,
while the plume moves north
Neil Lewis is a writer and brewer living on the coast of North Carolina. If you'd like to get in touch or learn more, you can find her: www.elizabethneillewis.com