the prize

– for Keith, Ben, Macha and Bob

yes, why is it whales don’t get the bends
all of the poets asked at once seeing
in each other’s eyes nascent powerful poems
and with a leap and simultaneous splash
flung themselves headlong into the sea
to retrieve the elemental mystic runes
held in the mouth of a bemused blue whale
descending quickly into an inky mystery

after all the others had abandoned hope
one at last floated upward with the prize
but rendered senseless his head much smaller
from enormous pressure at lightless depths
he was a bloody slimy unmoving mess
from all appearances no longer alive

but mostly dead is not all dead
as is said in The Princess Bride
he spat out water, sat up and said
it was worth the price of acquisition
clutched in his hand was a barnacled poem
and the secret to avoiding the bends;
this oh-so-lucky poet can now fart nitrogen

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 6/30/17

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