All the other names for you—flatworm, cucumber, anemone, bootlace.
Found this animal recently hugging the north island rock. I have been searching for weeks with no results—
Hydroid, peanut, sea pen. Enter gorgonians, whips, branched creatures, starfish. I want to start there, drawing a boundary around the missing portion of your body. As a reminder.
You are curious about the dorid of circlet gills, but they are merely tentacles, for feeding—
Because you have another name I hold the rod to the sand, marking. This is your body, these are your parts. This is your scope. These are the tiny pools you belong to, your ancestors, your double sex.
Neptune’s Reef. There are two in what could be mating or feeding. If yes, what kind?
Like the objects in the corner of our eyes. You bristle, hook, shed. Break shell. Because the water washes out the shape, because I trace a map of your trajectory. Following the branch against loam, scraping out the letters to spell a word for you.
The white part feels like muscle. The grey and black root feels like a stick.
We see the shore is nothing but a line our eyes make, searching for a name where water ends and sand begins. I know don’t know what to call you. Spanish Dancer, Pajama Slug, Three Striped Phyllidia. All the underwater guides know nothing of you.
Each animal is a colony. Each stick-like feature is an anchor.
It occurs to me that I am counting each vessel. I’ve been counting since the daffodils, saffron. The thousands represent millions.
I have not seen anything like this.
Listing, crossing out, circling, listing again.
Can you give me some idea?
You have to start over. From the lake.
The tide, filling.
But, then. There is no lake.
All the other names for you:
Cowrie, Keyhole. Bluebottle. Fissure.
Take a Photograph of Us Here
Because public libraries aren’t public.
Because one dog eats another’s carcass.
Because light from a scene passes through a single point.
Because when color expands, it seems closer.
Because Avenida Revolución and empty bottles.
Because The Tropic of Cancer divides.
Because a man pays attention to proportion.
Because the mutt in the alley, beside its intestines.
Because this: a curled corner, stained sepia.
Because it’s never enough of anything.
Because I ask him to hold still.
Because he laughs at our reflection in the building.
Because green and white, covered in red
Can produce yellow, orange, or brown because
Theory became dogma because
During the 18th Century, Isaac Newton experimented with prisms because
Mixing anything with zinc oxide will not change the hue because
It would be incorrect to assume the world is “tinted” because
Jars and jars and jars of it because
Extreme red and purple lie close to crimson because
The ocean cannot contain everything because
Light cannot diffuse my answer.