Common Stingray by Carol Was

Common Stingray

 

                  Dasyatis pastinaca

In the infinite silence
   of her velvety skin, she roams
         through moon water at night,

scours coastal shallows, glides
   around the Mediterranean,
         Norway, Canary Islands—

fluid creature soaring,
   foraging chink snails,
         snapper biscuits,

spiny shrimp, undulating
   in and out of waves.
         She is a wave—

primordial, flexing spine
   and filament, overlapping,
         ruffling her flexible body—

a pectoral fin disk, graceful
   as gull wings in watery air.
         Diamond-shaped,

she resembles a stealth fighter,
   almost alien, yet magical—
         all flesh, fiber, cartilage,

onyx eyes peering through
   sand when she buries
         herself in sediment,

becomes indiscernible.
   Her disguise, expert
         as a hairy crab,

or peacock flounder creeping
   on fins. If only we could read
         the mysteries she writes in liquid
cursive with her long whip tail.


Carol Was
Carol Was is the Poetry Editor for The MacGuffin. Her poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, CT Review, among others, and nominated for Best New Poets. Childhood summers spent on a family farm in West Virginia, fishing trips with her father, and working in the fossil lab at Cranbrook Institute of Science, helped shape her appreciation and concern for the natural world.

Featured image: Stingray by Klobetime on flickr.com. CC license.

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