Clade Song Banner

Clade Song 13

Jacques Cousteau Was a Splendid Blue Shadow

Stretch the displaced vertebral column you find in a fish.
Ask of it the means and the way. The committeeless committee.

I caress the beginning of an insult.
You draw back the air and speak the wedding guts of your sister’s womb.

Still, it will always be a familiar regret astonishing my mouth.
I grew up that way, always afraid of what air I might speech.

There alone, inside the thorn of a cactus, the sharks are rumbling.
Jacques Cousteau was a splendid blue shadow.

My father was a hurricane. My mother, three fish sewn into the body of a blood pheasant.
Don’t ask me to explain the meanderings of the sea which somehow keep murmuring my
     mouth. Their way into my mouth.

If you want the truth, I’ll tell you to go ask Kabir.
Lie inside one of his rug weavings, which somehow map starlight deadening an ear.

Ask Hafiz. Ask Leonard Bernstein. Ask Mike Tyson who keeps blow-boxing his shadow.
Jonah lived inside the belly of a whale. The whale lived inside him.





George Kalamaras is former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014–2016). He is the author of twenty-three collections of poetry—fourteen full-length books and nine chapbooks. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he taught for thirty-two years. He lives with his wife, writer Mary Ann Cain, and their beagle, Blaisie, dividing their time between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Livermore, Colorado, in the mountains north of Fort Collins.