You cut the water for me
brutal with your snout
that was the whole front side
of your head; your bearing-forward
a bullet tuned to assault.

You had gouges the size of star fish,
whip-lash from giant squid,
and whip marks
from Portuguese Men o’ War,
rough trade of dealing with mantas
and moray eels.
Being savagely wounded was glory.

You were efficient
at getting what you wanted;
but so patient,
sensing young prey a mile off
as if tasting the electrical field
of living things.

I thought I was your only one.
But others clung to you
in the blue-darkness
of the water.

Down there, there were no stars;
no phosphorescence.
The nibble of your grooming
made it seem you were the sun.
But all it was, grey, mottled,
was your skin, close up,
and you hidden within it,

I discovered about your other remora
later: the small ones flying near your mouth
the others near your underside.
You held us
in separate chambers
of water.

Year later, I followed decisive girlfriends
at shoal work of parties.
I didn’t swim for myself.
Where did I learn that tendency?
I asked myself.

David McLoghlin