‘The Fathoms’ by Sarah Fletcher

The Fathoms

When I am caught
within the eels of it,

I remember more is known
about the moon than

the deepest parts of the ocean.

This helps me make sense of it.

One thousand fathoms down,
brine scales everything.
Salt scars hearts across the rocks.
A date of birth.

The other animals are mainly teeth.
Black eyes like space. More teeth.
Perpetually open mouths:

they must be women then;
they must be like me.
All fangs among the worms.

And imagine the pressure:
fathoms down across

the deepest planes, the trenches.
A darkness spreading
like pandemic
the deeper one goes down.

I think how whales fall slowly when they die,
taking many years to hit the bottom,

how by the time they reach, they
bear entire ecosystems in their skeletons:
bristleworms, hagfish, isopods.
Then I remember, to make sense of it:

this is a form of love

which takes on many shapes &
helps you grow.
Sarah Fletcher is an American-British poet with poems in The Rialto, the Morning Star, and the London Magazine. In 2012, she was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year and a winner of the Christopher Tower Poetry Prize. Her pamphlet Kissing Angles was published in 2015 by Dead Ink Books and was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. @SarahFletcher27