A bold orange mat of seaweed
coughed up on the pebbly shore.
Peering into its stringy texture,
I can almost taste its origin
on the mud-bottom where snails
pimple the filtered sunlight
and crabs stalk about and sneer.
You doubt that crabs actually sneer,
but admit they raise their large claws
with defiance, no matter the threat.
I don’t want to suggest that all such
gestures evolve toward the human,
but their weight outweighs the creature
itself. This mass of tangled weed
looks like the discarded toupee
of a disgruntled giant, maybe
a cyclops tired of seeing
the world in two dimensions.
Maybe you could try on a fistful
to cap your plain brown coiffure.
You don’t want this sea-slime mess
crowning your simple outlook?
I’d try it myself, but my lack
of dignity is landlocked, shy
of such brazen sea-wrought colors.
If I had the courage of a crab
or the persistence of a snail
I’d discard my ordinary clothes
and cloak myself in seaweed
and stalk abroad like Poseidon
in his entire godly anger.
I’d frighten the locals and laugh
a full-chested laugh you’d admire—
the only manly expression
your womanly wit couldn’t best.