behind the fish so vivid and diverse
a universe of joined consorts,
not inert, as we might imagine,
had we given them thought.
Rough and rocklike we knew,
breathing through our tubes, hovering
over their abrasion, iconostases hiding eel
and lobster in their intricate niches.
Each of us was an each. How alien
to this colony of tentacles encased
in chalky calcium carbonate,
hungry too, prey to crown of thorns.
It’s not that they snub us. No, not really.
Apart from the sunscreen on our skin,
they sense us less then we sense them.