by Henri Cole

After the sewage flowed into the sea

and took the oxygen away, the fishes fled,

but the jellies didn’t mind. They stayed

and ate up the food the fishes left behind.

I sat on the beach in my red pajamas

and listened to the sparkling foam,

like feelings being fustigated. Nearby,

a crayfish tugged on a string. In the distance,

a man waved. Unnatural cycles seemed to be

establishing themselves, without regard to our lives.

Deep inside, I could feel a needle skip:

Autumn dark.

Murmur of the saw.

Poor humans.

First published in Poetry, September 2019.