Birth of a Naturalist

This was inspired by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - a mass of rubbish that is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.
It also seems apposite in terms of what has happened to Japan...
Thank you for reading.

Birth of a Naturalist

All century trash floated round the gyre

of the Pacific: bright and shiny, shoes

baked themselves open, grew weedy gills,

shoals of rolling bottles nudged each other,

blister packs burst delicately -

the scent of rubber wove itself round

chair legs like a cat.

There were swirls of wilted condoms,

ribbed and stippled, a shining dummy teat,

slowly turning tyres: the stuff of shucked and

cast-off lives, cresting rills of milky foam,

breeding in long nests of hair.

Worst of all in the warm thick clutter

were the shopping bags of every hue,

plaited together by the waves' regular hand

or domed, translucent as a bloom of medusae,

ripped membranes flickering like something precious.

One day when the sky hung heavy,

I gunned the outboard motor, ducked the boom

to take a closer look. The brine was thick,

sounding a thin high note like a bell.

The trash mass jostled for attention,

each piece sliding and mounting the other

as if silent hands pushed it out of the sea,

back into my hands, offering it up

and I knew that if I dipped my arm in

I would never get it back.


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