sea urchin poem image by Veronica Kornberg


You can spend a life like this—a creature

of tentacles and spikes holed up in a stone pit

of your own making. A compound eye

with a lid of pebbles to shutter the light.

Do you think I mean cramped or small? Listen.

What I see—O radiant punk

singing violence in the sunken garden—

how for decades, you beam the purple rays

of your lantern, read the planktonic

stream written on cold pages:

kelp, flea, fry, foam, larvae, louse. Bloom

or barren. How without seeming to move,

you preside over the great untethering

of kelp forest columns, gnaw deeper

into rocks and pluck the buzz from the still

pool at low tide. Even in death, shattered

and swallowed by sea otter, you violet

the bones of your enemy.

Published in Radar Poetry

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