Volume 3 Number 1 • Spring 2011

Sara Dailey

Sharks Come In

Sharks Come In

Like dinosaurs, unevolved,
their mouths backwards smiles
where we can only imagine red,
even now, even as they lie
on the bottom of the tank
just breathing
their great shark breaths,
flaps rising and falling,
their spots like leopards
or stones tossed on sand,
even then we are still imagining
sharks tasting the electricity
of our bodies, the heat
in our scent.


Your sticky ropelike tongue is a scientist,
a deft diver earmarked for ant pathways and termite
turrets, front claws gently probing tree bark and sand hills,
whole civilizations spilling down your throat.

Your name, from the Malay for “something that rolls up,”
means you look like an artichoke when threatened, a walking
pinecone. Your gray-green scales made of keratin, like fingernails,
I can feel you moving in my hands.

Discriminating nocturnal adventurer, the wide savannah grasses
trampled flat by pachyderms lay a circuitous path for you to
follow, exploring ways barred to me, wandering miles while
I sleep, carrying a whole world on your tongue.

Sara Dailey's poems and essays have appeared in Calyx, Cimarron Review, The Bitter Oleander, and Blue Earth Review, among others. Her chapbook The Science of Want won the 2009 Shadow Poetry competition and was a finalist for the Flume Press contest. She works as a teacher and editor in St. Paul, MN.