Coming Clean

At first, the offering of a single toe
     breaking the mer,
releasing a surface tension
built of 330 million miles square
of earth’s surface

     not too hot; not too cold

In a pile discarded,
soiled, faux epidermis
abandoned to mustify in the corner
     of the bathroom
Until the mood is right
or ’til one’s wife,
grown tired of stepping over

Then, and only then, 
will this discarded shell of a crab 
be spirited away to the hamper

A distant cousin to a drowning
Related within the second degree
of consanguinity or affinity
     to a baptism
Minus the speaking in tongues, of course
(though sighs may be easily mistaken
for utterances of a religious heart)

Humanity, it has been noted,
has more in common with dolphins 
than with apes. Skin smoothed, 
buoyant, supported a layer of fat
Born of embryonic saline, its flimsy
membrane encompassing 98% water,
a distilled essence of primordial yearnings,
     landlocked and aching for the sea

So down it is, at last
Down into tepid water,
head easing below the waves
a filthy weight lifting
from shoulders, collecting
a sheen upon the surface,

Down, down …
for a third time, sinking
beneath the waterline

The muffled clank and gurgle
of drains, a reverberation
of plumbing and piping
A seashell pressed
to and ear carries
across miles the roar
of breakers. And we
can no long pretend
we are immune
          to the moon’s sway

here, awash
in the echo 
of whale song 
fluted from the elemental deeps