The Sea Witch Tells You a Story About the Deep Sea Anglerfish
None of the jokes you read about God and creation on the internet are false. Each dialogue happened-- the duck really is a large incompetent pigeon with a surfboard mouth. The snake really is an angry sock. It’s true, too, that the laws of physics were thought up ahead of time, and so to compensate for the resultant crush of water’s overwhelming presence, the anglerfish was given the ability to also occupy the space just behind your left ear. There she is, the color of the roots of your hair, teeth slipping into the soft spot near the lobe as you roll over in bed. Bulbous and armored, her speed makes your blink look like the sunrise. She is a nightmare because we like the concept of lips, for the jaws of an animal to close over their own violence. We like to think we were minding our own business before being dismembered. But the anglerfish was made to make us long for death, to drift towards it as we might towards a late fall rose, lurid pink. The end, we think, of the Anthropocene, reaching out our hands-- I haven’t even gotten to the part about the male fish. How small he is, how ready to dissolve his own organs in the service of her free movement. In this regard, the ugliest fish in the world is objectively perfect, carrying in her terrible frown that small lump of flesh.
-- Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is the author of A Brief History of Fruit, winner of the 2018 Akron Poetry Prize, and BETWEEN (Finishing Line Press), winner of the 2017 New Women’s Voices Series prize. Recent work appears in venues ranging from The Recluse to The Los Angeles Review of Books. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College. Sarah Blake is the author of Naamah (Riverhead Books) and two books of poetry, Let’s Not Live on Earth and Mr. West (Wesleyan University Press). Recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the NEA, Blake's work has appeared in The Paris Review, Catapult, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.