Small Sea Monster

Small Sea Monster

from a sculpture by Severo Calzetta da Ravenna

The sea monster of 16th century Italian origin
looks in bronze like a freak show dog with scales

and a half human face. Its webbed hands arched
delicately like a lawyer’s on a witness stand just before

cross examination. A tail that could be a dinner bell.
Coming up for air from another dream of drowning

I think the tiny dog standing on my chest looks more sea
monsterly, and I wonder if I’m exchanging

one depth for a murkier other, of waking.
it’s only at the surface that we’re surprised

by what breaks through, in the shallows
that things get stranded between tides

like this hideous thought splishing about
that in the deep would be graceful, near invisible, at home.

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