We slip under the skin
of ocean, slide into
the brine, float belly-down.

A Barracuda scours.
Gold dangles: fishing lures.
Blue Tang scuttle in sync.

Further below a Tarpon,
lengthy as any man,
cruises the sand-floor. Mothers,

we hover: blue fins wave
while hair ripples, escaping.
Will he doubt our authority?

Dripping, we pull our weight
onto the deck. Bats plunge.
Clouds tinge coral. We raise

our young to know the ocean
heaves every grain. Night falls.
Suspended between timber

and foam, buoyed, then dropped,
we pitch, catch hold. The sea
cradles the sighing hull.

--Elise Paschen

By Elise Paschen