Today's poem is by Robert J. Levy


Not everything's deep. Like this manatee,
propeller-scarred, slumped in the marina,
head abutting the red speedboat's rotor
as though beseeching it for more abuse.

It loves lolling on the surface, munching
lettuce thrown by tourists or lazily
chomping mangrove leaves and turtle grass.
Watching it sprawl and sway aimlessly

I feel the manatee within me rise,
that part of me that's taken body blows
as I mooched in the sea lanes of my life
where I could slouch forever easily,

immobile, adrift, never diving deep,
even though I can submarine for hours.
Oh, but the surface is sunny, placid,
filled with the faces of happy humans

amused, not by my antics, but by my
docility. Truly, I do nothing,
am evolution's greatest joke, bloated
hunkering boulder of pure fat, a beast

who lives to feast and loaf in lassitude.
Having no ambitions is a prayer
as well, sad and glorious refusal
to accept profundity as my lot.

Like the manatee, I'm identified
by my scars: Their rubric is the gashes
on their backs, inflicted by speedboats;
but I am recognized by the marks

on my head, the superficial wounds
of cruelty or indifference
from those I might have loved who have moved on
in their racing boats to more glorious lives

of aspiration, renown. Shallowness
is also a place where you can reside,
shiftless in the tide. Next time you joyride
and you crash into what you think' s a log,

remember some of us float above the fray,
that for a manatee a good day's defined
precisely by what we do not do,
that the shoals, the shoals are teeming with life.

Copyright © 2014 Robert J. Levy All rights reserved
from All These Restless Ghosts
FutureCycle Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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