Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Excursion

[A poem inspired by the Weekend Wordsmith prompt "Zoo"]


The Excursion

I sail across the wide brick plaza,

flitting past the ticket counter,

squinting into the bright

glare off the silver scales

that cover the building's new arm.


In the lobby I wave my card,

hook a schedule,

size up the crowds,

plot my course

and pass into the darker interior.


I want to ebb

when everyone else flows.

I want to be first,

in front,

selfish,

like the penguins in the center pool.


I steer clear of those noisy birds,

to peer through the glass wall

of the Medical Center,

where real people treat

real animals,

where encouraged voyeurism

lets me look at their charts.


I cruise up the outside ramps,

then slowly

float in front of one tank,

then the next:

freshwater and saltwater,

sea jellies and sea dragons,

octopus and anemones,

electric eels,

piranhas,

catfish and trout,

poison dart frogs.


And after floating to the top

I dive down again,

hugging the inner ramp,

a tight spiral wrapped

around the Giant Ocean Tank.


Bright fish and dull.

Sharks and giant turtles.

Big fish and little.

Swimming with the current,

or against,

the moray eel anchored

in a crevice of man-made coral.


I tack past the crowds

out a side door,

to delight in the sea otters,

splashing and playing with toys,

and rolling over to catch air in their fur.


Back inside, I flow

through the special exhibit,

two floors with a focus

and too many people darting around

like a massive school of fish,

impressive, but mindless.


Near the end of my voyage

I resupply at the Cafe

and reel in treasures

at the Gift Shop,

to add to my memories,

as I leave the water-world,

and walk away.




[I am a member of the New England Aquarium in Boston. I don't make time to visit often enough.]

7 comments:

Carmi said...

You've made me want to become a member, too. There's something wonderfully cathartic about spending time in an aquarium. I think it's good for the soul.

Dropped by from Michele's to wish you a happy and healthy new year. Complete with lots of visits to the aquarium.

Star said...

Aquariums are great. Here from Michele's. I loved you jump rope post. I remember the rubber band jumoing game as well. And double-dutch!

sister AE said...

L'shana tova, to you and your family, Carmi! Thanks and best wishes to your green-legged boy.

Hello, Star. I never had the chance to try double-dutch. No one at my schools did it and if I saw it on TV I watched with awe.

Mike Davis said...

I want to be first,
in front,
selfish,

Ah, so you're the one who always gets in front of me!

I love a well stocked and spacious acquarium. It always makes me wonder about the career path I diverted from at 13 - Marine biologist.

Here from Michele's

sister AE said...

Hi, Mike,
Alas, although I WANT to be in front, I often linger behind all the kids pushed noses to the glass. At one point I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist too - I think it was all the Jacques Cousteau specials on TV!

Reflekshins said...

enjoyed the poetic tour.

michele scent me

sister AE said...

Welcome, Reflekshins. I do like taking guests to the Aquarium.