Frilled Shark by origamiPete; for more information, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/petr-stuchly/

Frilled Shark by origamiPete; for more information, visit
https://www.flickr.com/photos/petr-stuchly/

Monstrous  

by Susan Richardson    

 Chlamydoselachus anguineus

because you’re blatantly not Bambi it sure ain’t pretty because you’re not feathered or furred a freaky thing because you’ve slithered from fiction quite horrific risen from the deep sea serpent stories we’ve heard because you’re like the chestburster in Alien because the fisherman who netted you off Gippsland must gestate his fear for the next three-and-a-half years because even though we’ve tried to tame you with a term reserved  for skirts and curtains you remain like nothing researchers have ever seen because of your insane teeth three hundred tiny tridents because you’re not iconic or marquee dead-looking eyes because in spite of it being more than half your size, when you distend your jaws, you readily ingest our tendency to anthropomorphise because you predate our mammalian uprise by eighty million years straight from a nightmare because we’d happily let pandas claim your place in the ark once you’re in that mouth you’re not coming out because you decided to die just hours after capture the one time you were tanked in a marine park poses no danger to humans though scientists have accidentally cut themselves examining its teeth because you won’t even meet our preconceptions of shark

Susan Richardson4

About Susan Richardson

Susan Richardson is a Welsh poet whose third collection, skindancing, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2015. She is currently poet-in-residence with both the Marine Conservation Society, writing poems and running workshops in response to their Thirty Threatened Species project, and the global animal welfare initiative, World Animal Day. www.susanrichardsonwriter.co.uk

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