“Japanese Aquarium Urges Public to Video-Chat Eels Who Are Forgetting Humans Exist” by Sonia Greenfield

Sonia Greenfield


—The Guardian, Friday, May 1, 2020

hey eels aka carpet of
writhing grass aka sinews
of sea floor aka silver speckled
& smiling sand spitters

the world has gone
bonkers & even humans
can forget humans exist like
that tiny grandmother whose

white hair looked like a moon
jelly bobbing in the dry
ocean on the other side of
your glass she’s gone now &

the nurse in subtidal scrubs
that soothing blue is gone too
hey eels we have a sickness
rippling through this sea

of humanity so I’m taking
a Zoom meeting with you can’t
roll up to your window & smile
back can’t be jostled by

a family of seven edging
me away from my vantage that’s
how we are we humans we’re
just like animals hey eels I like

how you duck into your home
in the sand how you suck
yourself into your safe space
and now humans are doing that

too sucking into our safe
spaces & shrinking away from
faces coming too close
which is to say I’m just like

you hey eels beyond your
invisible walls beyond the four
walls beyond your aquarium
beyond the teeming of Tokyo

I hear wildlife is reclaiming
its spaces that pumas wander
the streets that waterways are
becoming more uncluttered by

the detritus of human indifference
hey eels every time I would take
my son to see you he would sit
by your side & I think he saw

something of himself in the way
you’re alone in your hole & in
the fear that guides your hiding
hey eels it’s where we all are now

from Poets Respond
May 12, 2020


Sonia Greenfield: “I suppose, to a certain extent, even humans forget other humans exist.” (web)

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