The stink of him came to me first, a salty hit of kelp
& fat-rot. The dank bulk of the bloated lion shushed,
clogged the pink swish of twilight surf.
Perhaps two days dead. Above the dull head danced
four children & the flank of an upraised
shovel. They were popping the gassy beast,
that lowly rolling bull. His skin hissed.
Their father watching from beneath a blue tent.
Offshore platforms twinkling, nodding
hammer heads into deep-sea oil. Red-tide
bioluminescence. A freight
train shaking each flat leaf
among the trees of the banana plantation.
Beneath its heavy wheels, crushed pennies.
The awful children return to their camper.
When I go to stand near the savaged sea lion,
he is still dead. I already know what I am,
& nothing new in me emerges.