Dear Sea Monsters,

by Susie Petersiel Berg

Were you ever real, did you ever,
from the sketches on ancient maps,
want to rise out of water, to flame —

No, it’s not like that.
I am under here swimming
a salt-water caress of scales
like a hand through hair
watching coral move as the moon
beckons, I am drawn
to the fish, their quick trips or languid rills,
their solitude or their schools
of fins and eyes. I lumber and float, I flip
onto my back, my tail
is a propeller of muscle, my gills
awash in crystal and krill.

— did you ever mean to say,
when you surfaced in a sailor’s imagination,
Follow me. Come, hear the darkness,
listen to night settle over the ocean.

— from Juniper Volume 3, Issue 1