Safe Harbor

by Lucas Smith

On our last day of volunteering
There were leopard sharks
In the shallows breeding.
Hundreds of sharks
Swarming like milk in coffee.

What could be more normal than
Austin Rogers reaching down to lift one
Into the bubbly kayak of primary colours
with a clear bottom, with his bare hands.

I was eight years old in shorts
And us and nature were beyond mature control.
Green of the water, maroon of the cliffs,
Sandy tones of sandpaper sharkskin,
Neon of childrens’ snorkels and fins.

“Kids! Kids!”
The swarm moved with the current
Towards the neon snorkels and fins.
Austin got his arm around one
And pulled it in. Hundreds more to go
To save our children’s skins.


Lucas Smith is a poet and writer from Southern California and the Gippsland region of Australia. His work has appeared in Australian Poetry Journal, The Rialto, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Meanjin, and many other venues.

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