Kelp Forest

by Lucas Smith

Why the parentals let us
I still don’t know, but a Dad’s
promise was a promise, your Mom said
so we motored out, you in bed,
the solid sea forgiving.

We jumped and landed in the kelp forest,
our breath yearned up,
the sun waved shafts of particles,
depressing without weight against the island.

In the sea’s crackle, the sand sifters churn,
of sea cucumbers, and rasp of calico bass
and urchins, Guiding strokes arose, allegretto
in my head, of Beethoven’s seventh
which stately mirrored columns of kelp,

I knew everything
of love and friends and ichthyology,
our German grandparents might have said,
in early days, ‘ich, theology.’
or in our suburb, ‘Ick, theology,’

which amounts to the  splendour
to answer to the island only,
then lie down with salt-cured hair
and warm the other as swell pressed us together.
Idylls lie; we told the teacher
Dad, the chaperone, was golfing

and chaparral stuck in the air aquarium
reached up, swaying kelpish, to the surface of air.


Lucas Smith is a writer and poet from California and the Gippsland region of Australia, currently based in Melbourne. His work has appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, Santa Clara Review, The Rialto, Tipton Poetry Review, and many others.

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