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Little Tutka

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,

hanging on,

dead and hideous attached to that fat slab of radiolarian chert

while their cousins and mothers bulge next to them,

screaming and

gasping for


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,

bulging anemones


while the plume moves north


or east,




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:

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