Monica McAlpine: Specimen

Pale fins tipped with midnight
flutter against glass walls,
a cerulean torso glides,
flexes, glides. Your skin—suede
brushed to a velvet nap. And all is
blue answering to blue.

Behind the scenes at the Aquarium,
no label with name, species
pins you down, sums you up.
Ignorance purifies my gaze,
frees me to wonder at
exceeding beauty unconscious of itself.

Yet what exotic waters you came from, what
multitudes of your kind you swam with, how
deep you dove into what caverns
 of green light—if green it were:
questions I cannot repress
as I stand before your dimly lit tank, its tubes,
filters, wires humming monotonously.

Your turquoise eye flashes,
a gem set in a living socket.                               .


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