Illustration: beach of pointy stones

“a coronavirus vaccine could kill half a million sharks”

our bellies are slimy with
moistened flower petals
& squalene
you will hoist us by the gills
in a throttling kiss
& we will spill
our history at your feet
megalodon caked in seabed
cuneiform scars scribbled
on sharkskin, reticulated script
we did not ask to be
your salvation
angels for aliens
you will never know our pleasures
the serenity of a slow, ruddered drift
blood spiraling in rusty florets
& fragrant fish, oh—
death’s flavorful ache; remember this
as you unpeel us like redolent fruit
we, too, are propelled by viscera
our souls squished into bodies
& overburdened
by their pulpy bloom

Kristin Emanuel writes short form and hybrid visual poetry. Her work deals with extinction, the dreaming mind, and animal subjectivity. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Kansas. Her poems have recently been published in the Normal School and are forthcoming in Grub Street vol. 70.

Rocky Beach illustration by C.B. Auder (digital collage).

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