Iowa Writes

MIKE CHASAR
Song for the Manatee


Humble, homely, whisker-snouted
recluse—you
were no sultry mermaid and I,
alone in that rented canoe,

was no scurvy Blackbeard
keeping a lookout for you.
Aye! You were a silent passerby,
some strange sea-shape I

did not see swim so much as glide,
nor glide so much as fly.
And yet, O blubber!
What was there to identify?

Humble, homely, whisker-snouted
recluse—you
were no sultry mermaid and I,
alone in that rented canoe,

was no scurvy Blackbeard
keeping a lookout for you.
Aye! You were a silent passerby,
some strange sea-shape I

did not see swim so much as glide,
nor glide so much as fly.
And yet, O blubber!
What was there to identify?

You were a thought, an endangered
nautical motion
crossing that bare expanse
and headed, it seemed, for the ocean.

You were the legend that the snook
could never be—a silent arrival,
a postmodern sailor's
map to survival,

a Weeki Wachee woman
and reminder of land,
the desire of seeing a shoreline
and seashells, lines in the sand.

more

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


MIKE CHASAR

Mike Chasar lives in Iowa City where he is a frequent contributor to "Poetic License," a Monday feature of the Iowa City Press-Citizen's op-ed page. More of his writing is available online at Poetry, Word for/Word, The Cortland Review, and The Iowa Review Web.

Poetry Magazine
Word for/Word
The Cortland Review
The Iowa Review Web

This page was first displayed
on May 25, 2006

Find us on Facebook