“Free associating on ocean outfall”


By Elisabeth Stoner | Aug 31, 2015

1. The Sea I Dream Of
Come, dive with me into the sea I dream of:
clear, translucent, aquamarine. Deeper –
dancing, glancing light brightens sapphire, cerulean.
Deeper still, glistening, iridescent beryl, emerald – finally,
vivid turquoise, currents of cobalt, purple, darkening black.
Caverns, crevasses, shelves, plates, tunnels, pelagic ledges,
deepest caves – native structures within the pure,
mysterious, mystical, primeval living waters of the deep.
Remains of ancient civilizations: a sunken, armless statue,
a broken ship, its master now a leering, waving skeleton,
scattered flatware, a treasure chest now empty,
except for a family of fish making it their home.
Fractured marble porticos, peristyles, colonnades –
graceful wrecks from other vainglorious eras.

Beams of light: my ocean teeming, full of life.
We see in the forests of the sea: seaweeds, grasses,
phytoplankton, sea anemones, water hyacinth –
bunches of sargassum – laughing dolphins use it as a toy –
tossing it to pals, wearing as adornment,
rolling over, flapping tails in unison,
chirping, clicking, whistling back and forth.
Dusky dolphins herd anchovies, take turns gulping.
We see rays, sharks, eels, tuna, perch, sea turtles, seals,
a whale, horseshoe crabs, rock fish, oysters, squid,
coral, octopus, a team of porpoises – maybe a manatee.

2. Today
We see killer plastic bags resembling delicious jelly fish,
water bottles breaking down, mistaken for food, too.
Gyres of trash. Oil spills. Dredging.
Drilling’s raucous racket halts echo location, navigation,
makes marine mammals crazy.
Almost every day, we find another carcass on our beach.
The outfall will pump into our ocean
pharmaceuticals, hormones, heavy metals, pain killers, antibiotics,
birth-control and tranquilizing drugs, nitrogen, phosphorus
Think of the effect on life and habitat.
“Last year we saw a 500 percent increase in dolphin deaths.
The situation is already perilous.
If the outfall is built, the nightmar
will never end.”

3. Act
But these are only paper words – thrown out in tomorrow’s trash.
Come, stand with us in the shallows as we support
a dying dolphin so it does not drown.
Come, stand with us at the steel table as the #10-blade
cuts into the once-luminescent, now dull carcass,
revealing parasites, poisons – perhaps a cancer, an embryo?
Come, help us count the dolphins before they are no more.
Come, help us restore our gorgeous ocean.

Elisabeth Stoner


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