Sharks at the New York Aquarium


Suddenly drawn in through the thick glass plate
And swimming among them, I imagine
Myself as, briefly, part of the pattern
Traced in the water as they circulate
In sullen obedience to the few laws
That thread the needle of their simple lives:
One moment in a window of serrated knives,
Old-fashioned razors and electric saws.
And then the sudden, steep, sidewinding pass:
No sound at all. The waters turning pink,
Then rose, then red, after a long while clear.
And here I am again outside the tank,
Uneasily wrapped in our atmosphere.
Children almost never tap the glass.


Charles Martin, Starting From Sleep: New and Selected Poems, Overlook Press, 2002.