Eighteen
by Sue Goyette

copyright © Sue Goyette, 2013

Some believed the ocean wasn’t alway salty but that our ancestors
had been very sad. They’d been promised a great many things

only to have the fruit drop and their breasts sag. They cried
a lot. When they looked up and bemoaned their fate,

claiming they’d done nothing to deserve all of this roadkill,
the exhaust from their undeservedness formed a talk show

of rain clouds. When they looked upon the ground
and beseeched their feral happiness to stop chewing

at their feet, their displeasure seeded gout weed and prehistoric
thorned things. In this way, our boats were the original forms

of escape and self-help. At first we floated on our ancestors’ sadness,
the waters rife with the salt of their tears, but then,

vivre l’evolution, those tears sprouted gills and tails
and small, watchful eyes. It isn’t entirely accurate to say

we ate those fish but more like accepted that which we’d inherited.
What we hadn’t anticipated was how the eyes of those original tears

would persist, how they’d keep watching.