OPERATION SAVE THE JELLYFISH
Post storm. Hauling buckets of pressed opals slumped and stranded like deflated balloons, spent prophylactics. A bloom of sea jellies.
Stranded on a sunbaked rock, your forearm slumped over my coccyx, the curve of my low back, fingers brushing my side. Dream-drunk. If-if-if, the conditional clicks like a paparazzi blitz. Shuttered now. And where are the photos that prove it? How long before the tabloids' exposé?
Not the lemon or its rind. The taste.
We stitch their soft bodies into a quilt. A little charged air. To picnic on. And later, we fuck. Bodies salted and greased. The damp sheets, the little attic oven.
And what if they're all dead. These iridescent sea hearts. A type of white fruit. Could we cure them and sell them to migrants? Set them in silver-plated frames for tourists? Make a quick buck? Call it organic?
We're all running. Every morning. And today we stop to salvage the jellies. All of us exit the boards, block by block. Our bodies open like umbrellas. We're rain ready. Certain. Begging to conduct.
Even beached and dying, the moon jelly might sting. When poked or prodded. When pressed to the cheek or lips.
This is a love poem. It was inspired by my residency at the Vermont Studio Center and running on the boardwalk in Ventnor City, NJ.