Tom Lux

As you descend, slowly, falling faster past
you, this snow,
ghostly, some flakes bio-
luminescent (you plunge
and this lit snow doesn't land
at your feet but keeps falling below
you): single-cell plant chains, shreds
of zooplankton's mucus food-traps, dust motes,
fishy fecal pellets, radioactive fallout, soot,
sand grains, pollen...And inside
these jagged falling islands
live more micro-lives
which feed creatures
on the way down
and all the way down. And you, a human,
in your sinking isolation
booth, you go down, too,
through this food-snow,
these shards, blown-off
bits of planet,
its flora
and flesh, you
slip straight down, unreeled,
until the bottom's oozy silt, the sucking
baby-soft muck
welcomes you
to the deep sea's bed,
a million anvil's per square inch
pressing your skull.
How silent here, how much life,
no place deeper on earth,
nor with more width.

This poem was recommended for the web site by Michael Collier, Poet Laureate of Maryland, and Director of the Breadloaf Writers Conference in Vermont. Michael has been to the seafloor in the Submersible ALVIN a number of years ago on one of our cruises. Shortly after that experience he sent me this poem which truly captures the eery nature of the continuous rain of upper ocean "food" upon the place beneath....

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