MOTHER OF SNAILS (catfish)

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013

See the big black one?
It lives in tropical South American rivers
and floodplain lakes and it says here
it’s called the MOTHER OF SNAILS
(catfish).

She’s a TITAN in her tank!
Plated powder-black, sat still,
watching with a milky filmed eye,
obscured to protect your sanity
for what good it may do.
You have come to the basement aquarium
and you have seen the LEVIATHAN.

The base of this glass is like the depths
of the Earth. The MOTHER OF SNAILS
(catfish) waits, observing the darting,
open-mouthed wretches before her, weird
like a darker Pluto under water (or a catfish).

oxydoras_niger11

She is CREATOR
of snails
(catfish)
sifting the sands for detritus
and life and spitting it out
with her sort of

funny, Poirot mustache, a-
it’s a catfish.

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