At night, I worry about red algal blooms and the way death follows abrupt darkness. Consider the lithe loggerhead or the polyps of ancient staghorn. What must it be like to surrender to those invading clouds, parched for sunlight?
You meet me at the bridge and ask me to discard my scales. Urgently: you say it’s time for me to join you above. It’s simple, you say, just pull them out like so many fingernails. You do not have them, so you do not know. You’ve given me no clippers so I must dig in and rip them out from the root.
It takes hours. You grow bored, you drowse beneath a tree nearby. My blood stains the swamp and it bubbles in my wounds. I’m cleansed by black water tannins. My sides and legs shredded and oozing, I roll onto the riverbank. You gather me up in the net of your arms.
You have a place for me in a nice suburban home. I’ll have a family: someone to look after me each day. There is awe and love in your eyes. I have hidden my gills; I hope that as I learn to breathe your air, they do not fall away.
Tonight I worry that the future is too wide and we are too small; it absorbs us in a flash and we are gone, consumed… and the future yawns on and on.