You think a glass-bottomed boat is an eye
on the other world, opening clear vistas of the depths
you will glide over on the way out to sea –
glimpses of hammerheads and great barracuda
circling, fire coral waving venomous
mustard fronds toward drifting blue schools of Tang,
or simply seaweed, tall as trees, smoothed
against the passing glass like mermaid hair.
But it’s not. From a hot dock,
you board the boat with ninety other people
eager to penetrate the reef, masks and snorkels poised,
and on the rapid journey there, the green road
shrouds poison moons of man o’ war,
the blind eyes of electric eels.
Floating over these warm waves, you feel ready
to question the need to know this realm by name,
as if fluency in undersea
might dissolve the solipsistic tides,
as if fish spoke, in a code one could crack.
The only signs you see are your own:
the shirt you drop overboard as you rise
to frame a shot, sucked under the boat,
presses briefly against the window
before drowning in the wake.
You wonder if this is what you looked for.
All you perceive beneath your traveling craft
is foam churning on a mirror,
sparkling and blinding in the sun.